This week in Podium or Pits, Jenson Button’s ‘yummy’ nickname is revealed, Alonso tries out his “acting” skills, there’s love in the paddock (well, sort of) and Alonso is a happy bunny…

In the hotseat: Alonso plugs nippy, err, Fiats

Fernando Alonso – it is a fact of modern Formula 1 that drivers are not merely drivers.  They are models, “actors”, brand ambassadors, PR pawns … you name it, they’re promoting it.  Two teams in particular are pretty capable at milking this sort of malarkey: McLaren and Ferrari.  Whereas McLaren prefers more ad hoc/”genuine”-seeming promo work, Ferrari relish the opportunity to get Fernando Alonso in big ticket national adverts.  POP won’t apologise for the dubbing on this advert, but perhaps that’s part of the overall “charm”….

Martin Whitmarsh – he’s no Flavio Briatore, but POP has a certain fondness for McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.  He’s straight-talking, humorous, and the sort of bloke you can imagine having a pint down the pub with.  Ace.  But after the mistakes for both his drivers at the British grand prix, Whitmarsh’s role could be in jeopardy.  Hamilton practically ran out of fuel, and Button’s pit stop error with the wheel nut cost him a peek at the finish line.  Apparently there is a wider issue with the management of McLaren (because clearly Whitmarsh wasn’t responsible for the dodgy gun incident), and the team have hardly had a stellar year when you face the numbers.  Nevertheless, POP thinks that the blame does not sit with Whitmarsh (yet!)

Lee Vettel? DC (David Coulthard) met his fiancee because she was an F1 correspondent for French TV, and this weekend there was definitely a hint of flirtation between BBC correspondent Lee McKenzie and the young whipper-snapper World Champion Sebastian Vettel.  Here’s what Lee had to say on Twitter:

In other madness..yes I did swipe a fly into Vettel’s face and certainly did not do what he suggested in the i/v [interview] #cheeky!

Ooh!  Cheeky!  Love is definitely in the fly-infested air for Seb and Lee.  Aww.

Johnnie Walker get the McLaren boys talking – yes, the tag line to this entry is potentially a tad misleading.  Just to be

Jenson's party outfit

clear: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were not plied with copious Johnnie Walker whiskey cocktails in order to extract interesting interview scoops!  Jenson remembered his first visit to Silverstone in 1994 (bless – practically Baby Button!)  Apparently Button’s nickname is “Choccy Button” within his inner circle of McLaren buddies.  Inspired.


Fernando Alonso – is it déjà vu, or is POP just particularly obsessed with Fernando Alonso this week?  (clue: it’s the latter)  And somewhat shockingly … Alonso is on the podium for this entry!  Firstly, congratulations for beating Vettel.  Frankly, it this stage, POP would cheer literally anyone who could stop the juggernaut that is Sebastian Vettel in his tracks.  Nothing personal, it’s just that POP doesn’t like blanket dominance in Formula 1 – it’s just, well, boring.  Secondly, POP does appreciate the self-congratulatory blog to celebrate the win.  Top snippets include: “What a great feeling, winning again!” … “You wake up happy and there’s a truly special feeling that goes with it” – yes, Alonso, that’s why James Hunt called it ‘breakfast of champions’.

Royalty – forget Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge!!  Prince Harry is the new ‘patron saint’ of Formula 1!  His interview with Martin Brundle on the grid at Silverstone on Saturday showed an impressive command of F1 knowledge, and something a little beyond the typically generic replies of celebrities.  Good stuff Your Royal Highness.  But WAIT!!  Where did such an interest in F1 come from?  Could it be his recently-started dalliance with Jenson Button’s ex Florence Brudenell-Bruce?