This week Podium or Pits is thoroughly embroiled in scandal!  Well, not personally.  But Bernie Ecclestone and Rupert Murdoch, both billionaires and both in their 80s, have had particularly rough weeks.  Retirement never looked so sweet…

Mrs Lewis Hamilton? There comes a time in every relationship when drunken uncles, distant cousins, and great aunties begin making comments such as “hasn’t he popped the question yet?”, and “so, when are you two getting married, eh?”  Now it seems this annoying habit has begun for Lewis Hamilton and his girlfriend (for now at least…) Nicole Scherzinger.  The pair have been dating for 4 years, which apparently is way too long to date without a ring on your finger these days.  Her dad is already calling Lewis his ‘future son-in-law’: “You know about the proposal? Yes they are engaged” said Nicole’s dad recently, but Lewis and Nicole have flatly denied that they’re engaged. “Lewis and I woke up this morning and read we were engaged! Sorry to disappoint u all but its not true:)” said Nicole over Twitter.

 

Virgin Racing – they are fast becoming POP’s new favourite team.  Timo Glock and Jerome D’Ambrosio entertained crowds in Sochi, Russia as they played a DJ set – check out the hat on Timo!  Ahoy sailor!  Sochi will be hosting the Russian grand prix from 2014. Отлично (that’s russian for excellent!)

Virgin - coolest team on the grid?

News Corp –  is there anything that’s gone right for News Corp (aka owner of the now-defunct News of the World, run by Rupert Murdoch) this week?  Nope, can’t think of anything.  You may remember that there was a rumoured takeover of Formula 1, but Bernie Ecclestone has now ruled out the chances of this happening. “If they were to bid for F1 they might find that people would object to it” said Bernie.  Not just people, all people.

 

BBC F1 – in other news, the rumours concerning the future of  F1 coverage on the BBC continue to whirl about.  “We have got no problem with the Beeb, … I can’t see how the BBC could cancel [its contract early]. We could probably sue them” said Bernie recently.  The good news is that he is still committed to keeping F1 on free to view channels, and in the interview he raises the possibility of coverage going to Channel 5.  Dear BBC – sort it out.

Bernie Sprog Watch – they’re not spoilt, they’re just very very lucky.  This week in “Bernie Sprog Watch” Petra Ecclestone has asked for a bit of pocket money, $82.4m to be precise.  She wants a new house for after she gets married.  It’s called “Candyland”.  Aww, sweet (literally).  Instead of going to Bernie, she in fact asked her mother, Slavica, who is divorced from Bernie (the richest millionaire from divorce no less!)  Apparently the mansion has a room dedicated to wrapping presents!  As it happens, POP is currently writing this from the comfort of the dedicated POP-writing room (aka, the lounge).

F1 safety – since Felipe Massa’s terrible accident in 2009, where a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s car flew off and hit Massa in the visor, there haven’t been many steps to improve the safety of drivers against such dangers.  Now, though, the FIA have been trialling what happens if you blast F1 tyres at a fight jet canopy. “There were tyre transfer marks on the canopy, but there was no apparent fracture,” said the team behind the experiment.  The results will go back to the Formula One Technical Working Group, and the FIA will decide how to proceed.  Watch this cockpit space!  Click here to check out the video.

 

Ecclestone bribery update back in February, POP alerted you to the beginnings of a bribery SCANDAL in F1!  Given this is apparently “Corruption” Month (what with all the News of the World/police bribing malarkey), why not add to the pile?  This week Bernie Ecclestone has been named as “allegedly” bribing a banker back in 2006 during the sale of F1 to CVC partners (the current owners).  POP wonders whether there is any corner of sport, or life, that isn’t corrupt?  Librarians?  Monks?  Florists?  Well, POP is practically perfect is every way.