Podium or Pits is ignoring silly season this week (it’s just, well, silly), in favour of lots of very high-brow quality news stories from around the F1 world…

Nigel Mansell –  POP has none other than Jonathan Legard to thank for this tit bit of Mansell trivia:

Things you never knew: Nigel Mansell was a dab hand at card tricks. Could have been table magician at Lotus cars event tonight. Great form

Magic and F1 – who knew they went so well?  Even Alonso is a wannabe-wizard!

The return of the French grand prix? wait, there’s no French grand prix?  When did THAT happen?  Yes, folks, you could be forgiven for just assuming that the French grand prix was one of those races that you mysteriously miss every year, but no – it really hasn’t existed since 2008.  The French PM has created a taskforce (read = Bernie Ecclestone hit squad) to get the race back on the calendar by 2013.  Good stuff.

Alonso’s stalker fan – here at Badger, we love comments!  Even the weird ones.  So when we discovered this comment to an Alonso blog entry, we couldn’t resist but share it with Podium or Pits readers (the bits in bold are, in the words of Benson Jammichello, “particularly terrifying”)…

Hi Sweetheart Just a note to wish you good luck in Spain, I am glad you are there, with tons of support. I hope it will be as special for you as you are hoping it will be. You know you have all of my support, always. You will be great, because you are super awesome!!! I know you will fight hard, and give everything you have because you always do, but please remember to stay safe. I am going to climb for cancer on Saturday. We are climbing for a friend. We are going to climb the stairs of the CN Tower in Toronto. There are 2579 steps in all. My friend and I are going to do this together. He is a professional lacrosse player and a full time fire fighter, so I know he will be fine, I just hope I can keep up with him. My inspiration for this climb will be you. You have a big climb ahead of you as well in your championship fight, and if you can do it, so can I. I won’t have to deal with weather, so really mine won’t be as difficult. I will keep your sweet face in my mind the whole time, and with that, I know I can do it. I am wrapping my arms around you so tight in the world biggest hug, and I am adding a kiss for good luck. Stay safe, and good luck my love XXXXXOOOOOOO Kim (Canada)

Jenson Button – in yet another display of POP’s dedication to high-quality journalism, Jenson Button was spotted thisweek MEETING HIS EX.

I know, neither BAR, Honda, or Brawn GP exist anymore – it was, in fact, his former fiance Louise Griffiths!  Debate in the Sett on this topic has, however, centred around the oddness of her dog.

Benson Jammichello called it her “bizarre canine chum”, Jimmy Von Weeks wondered “why is it wearing a jumper?” to which Benson replied “Dogs get cold sometimes.”  Even in Los Angeles no less.  The debate over the dog of Jenson’s ex fiance which is wearing a little coat thing in the middle of Los Angeles in the summer continues ….

McLaren – the team have just opened a shop in the fancy Knightsbridge One Hyde Park development, where a 3 bedroom flat recently changed hands for nearly £17 million.  INSANE!  McLaren certainly know their target market well.  At nearly £170,000 per McLaren MP4 12C, you need to be stupidly wealthy, or just stupid, to buy one.

BBC – apparently the BBC may not be able to afford to renew its licence to show F1 after 2013.  POP is in denial…