In a world where Ryan Giggs is awarded ‘Sports Personality’ of the year and Barack Obama is given the Nobel Peace prize, it seems only right and fair that we inaugurate the first Podium or Pits Awards!

Indeed, cast your minds back for a moment and reflect on what a year 2009 was for Formula 1… well, bloody everything happened didn’t it?  We saw diffuser arguments, crashgate, ‘lifetime’ bans, underdogs beating the prancing horse, life-threatening injuries, Mosley ousted, the British grand prix in jeopardy, Schumacher almost returning, and more drivers than you could shake a stick at!

But for POP’s awards we’re not giving out any gongs or cheap trophies in the shape of badgers, oh no – instead we’d like to say that the victorious few that win a 2009 POP award are granted their ‘badger stripes’ – a true honour.  So sit back, relax, make yourselves comfortable, and enjoy the Podium or Pits Awards 2009…

Career low of 2009

This is a tussle between Max Mosley, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Flavio Briatore.  Up until yesterday POP had been backing Flavio for the coveted ‘Career Low’ badger stripes.  But in a sudden change of fortunes which saw a French court award him damages and overturned his ‘lifetime’ ban from Formula 1, Flav’s year ain’t been so bad really.  Yeah, so he is a big flamboyant liar, but was 2009 a career low?  The Flav doesn’t do career lows, but he does enjoy careering off into rambling rants about drivers!

In 2009 Mosley was finally ousted from his lofty ‘untouchable’ position as Mighty Leader of the FIA after a whopping 16 years in the job.  He had a pretty darn awful 2008, what with that court case which we can’t talk about anymore wink wink nudge nudge.  But 2009 at last saw his demise, and good riddance POP says!

However, the Career Low Award of 2009 must surely go to Nelson ‘can’t drive for toffee’ Piquet Jr.  After performing utterly dismally on the track in 2009, Flav decided it was time to give him the chop… but no!  In an attempt to blackmail Flav into keeping him at Renault, Piquet threatened to reveal to the FIA that his crash in Singapore was all a fix.  Has Piquet ever heard of the words ‘credibility’ or ‘reputation’?  Somehow POP doubts it.  But he’s gone now, for the moment at least, so POP will reluctantly wish him well in all his new adventures!

Best Beard

What separates the men from the boys, the heroes from the pansies, the weak from the strong?  A beard!  That stubbly, sometimes groomed, often rough-looking patch of a man’s face that is covered with hair.  POP is convinced that beards are in fact the magic key to Formula 1 success.  Jenson was sporting a pretty good one all season long, as if to say “Look everyone!  Now I have arrived!  I’m winning races, and I have the beard to prove it!”  Ross Brawn had one too, so did Rubens Barrichello.  Special mention goes to Sebastian Vettel for his attempt at growing a beard in 2009.  Bless him, he did try.  But the winner has to be the yeti-like Nick Heidfeld.  No-one else comes close.  Literally.

The “whoops, did I just say that out loud?” Award

Yes, that’s right, the clear winner in this category has to be Rubens Barrichello and his blah blah blahhing.  There’s even a real POP song!  Check it out here.

Tantrum of the year

Since Rubens Barrichello’s blah blah blahhing has already won some badger stripes, POP would like to award ‘Tantrum of the year’ to the fiery Italian Jarno Trulli.  God knows who was actually at fault for the incident, but at the Brazilian grand prix Trulli had a collision with Adrian Sutil.  What followed was not pretty, with Trulli attempting to start a fight with the German on the race track.  The argument continued to Abu Dhabi, where at the Thursday press conference things got a little heated let’s say.  Sutil told the media, “I don’t know why he’s freaking out like that to be honest”, to which Trulli replied “I don’t know if you’re blind but I can show you some pictures that my front wing was next to your front wing” etc etc.  Brilliant stuff.

Most entertaining team website of the year

If you’re a regular Podium or Pits reader you should already be aware of POP’s minor obsession with the Ferrari team website.  In the last year they’ve compared Formula 1 to an Agatha Christie novel, slagged off people in not-so-subtle undertones, named Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa the ‘best couple’ in F1, posted videos of Massa, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene dressed as Santa, and even coined a new worded… Ferraristi.  POP doesn’t even like Ferrari whatsoever, but its website is pure and simple comedy gold.  POP salutes you Ferrari press person!  Williams F1, take note.

Most ‘inventive’ driver website of the year

Which driver’s website begins by asking you whether you’d like to start the full screen journey?  What journey?  Where?  Into the depths of Nico Rosberg’s MASSIVE ego…  join him as he tells you all about his ‘philosophy’ of “modesty and respect”.  As he stands holding a basketball and wearing K-Fed’s cast-offs, he tells you that he looks forward to where his personal voyage will take him.  Want to go on a ‘voyage’ with Nico?  Then click right here.  However, if you have an ounce of respect for Nico as a driver, POP suggests you do not visit his website.  Instead, try Kimi Raikkonen’s.  His is as slick as last year’s tyres.

Quote of the year

This is looking to be a good haul for F1’s recently departed Nelson Piquet Jr:

A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite, Flavio Briatore was my executioner.

POP even has photo evidence to support the awarding of Piquet’s Badger stripes for quote of the year (hint: Flavio is wielding a knife).

Overtake of the year

Just before you thought POP had utterly forgotten about the racing, the runner-up for overtake of the year is … Nico Rosberg in Monaco as he put a supremely brave move on Felipe Massa.  Special mention to Rubens ‘The Plough’ Barrichello, who didn’t always quite grasp the concept of overtaking without smashing everyone else up.  But the winner is, and this may be a little controversial but POP doesn’t care… Mark Webber!  His manoeuvre around Alonso down the start-finish straight at the Spanish grand prix was nothing short of breath-taking, even if it did only last the fraction of an instant.  Click here for a handy round-up of all the notable overtaking moves of 2009 (Webber’s winning move is around he 9 minute mark).

Rubens 'The Plough' Barrichello

Lifetime achievement award

POP gives this award in the hope that this person will take the hint and retire, especially given that he will be celebrating his 80th birthday very soon!  He’s been instrumental in creating the Formula 1 we all know, love, and watch today.  So here’s to you, Bernie Ecclestone, please kindly take this imaginary Lifetime achievement award and enjoy the rest of your retirement in peace away from Formula 1.