As you may be aware, this is the final edition of Podium or Pits from me before I hand over the reigns (or should that be steering wheel?) to the hilarious Benson Jammichello.  So as a final farewell, there’ll be awards (Badger stripes), and some of the best bits from POP over the last few years.

Podium or Pits began well over 2 years ago … back when Michael Schumacher was ‘retired’, F1 coverage had recently moved to the BBC from ITV (1997 – 2008 oh. dear. god), rookie team Brawn GP were looking pretty hot, and the barking mad Flavio Briatore (bless him) was still ranting from his position as Renault team boss.  The idea for POP came largely from the brilliantly absurd Caitlin Moran, who writes Celebrity Watch (a good week, bad week column) for the Times newspaper.  Formula 1 is a crazy celebrity circus, with just as much fun happening off track as on track … so I brazenly stole took inspiration from Moran to create Badger GP’s Podium or Pits…

POP-tastic archive favourites: the Podiums

A golden oldie from July 2009:

PODIUM – Teenagers – rookie 19-year-old Jaime Alguersuari did a fantastic job on Sunday at the Hungarian grand prix. He successfully embarrassed his team-mate Buemi by beating him in his maiden race.  Jaime also wins this week’s POP award for F1-Frankness: “I have learned a lot but I have to say there are some aspects of F1 which made me think, ‘shit this is tough’.” We like the teenage rookie already.

Remember Luca Badoer?  This entry from August 2009 was before we realised just how bad he really was …

PODIUM – Luca Badoer – at last!  After a decade, yes, a DECADE, as Ferrari’s test driver the little-known Luca Badoer will be taking the available race-seat at the team in Felipe Massa’s absence.  But hang on a sec… has no-one realised that Badoer’s name sounds very much like ‘bad-doer’?  The connotations aren’t exactly favourable.  But then again, the name ‘Scott Speed’ did absolutely nothing for the frankly useless American driver of yesteryear.  And in the manner of some cheesey Hollywood epic, Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemelo called Badoer’s opportunity to race at Valencia his “destiny”.  Let’s just hope that Badoer doesn’t do badly!

And now for an award from 2009, but it still holds true – it’s a Lifetime Achievement Award for the ever-entertaining (mostly inadvertent) Ferrari website!

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.

This is a personal Podium moment from July 2010, when I was stupendously lucky enough to interview Jenson Button:

PODIUM.  Jenson Button – Last Thursday POP was on a very important F1-related mission: to interview none other than Jenson Button! That’s right, POP and the F1 world champion Jenson Button, chatting one-on-one for an entire 15 minutes.  As expected, there is literally nothing bad to say about JB; he is a truly top bloke.

After spending a whopping 10 hours in McLaren’s state-of-the-art simulator back in Woking, JB arrived at the TAG Heuer boutique in London’s Westfield shopping centre all smiles and laughs.  At this point POP was desperately trying to conceal the pre-interview nerves by cracking a few jokes, but do you want to know what really makes Jenson nervous?  Not racing, not flying, not Eddie Jordan’s choice of clothing … instead it is, in fact, interviews.  JB held out his hand to show how shaky it was at the prospect of an interview, which is madness given that he regularly races at 200 mph without getting scared.  But you wouldn’t have guessed.

Click here for the full interview.

Bah!  Bahrain was certainly not missed by POP in 2011:

PODIUM. Borehrain is cancelled – Calm down everyone!  Hold your horses!  There is a very good reason why POP has elected to put the cancellation of the Bahrain grand prix on the ‘Podium’ this week:  the Bahrain grand prix is pants.  You know it’s true.  Of course, it’s devastating to have to wait an extra two weeks for the beginning of our beloved F1 season.  But POP would happily wait even longer so as to avoid the yearly disappointment of the ‘Borehrain’ season opener.  Nothing makes potential new F1 fans or returning fans switch off the TV more than the sight of the insipid curves of the Tilke-designed Sakhir circuit.

Remember how good Australia is?  Some things are worth waiting for.

The award for best video(s) goes to … Fernando Alonso!

PODIUM.  Fernando Alonso – For absolutely no reason whatsoever I find this perfume advert bend-over-double hilarious.  Alonso also gets a special mention for his legendary “Chicken” video (click here to enjoy)!

POP-tastic archive favourites: the Pits

Let’s kick things off with a gong awarded back in 2009

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 below…

Jenson: he started so well in 2009, didn’t he?  Then it all started to worryingly unravel.

PITS – Jenson Button – everyone in Formula 1 seems to be forming an orderly queue to tell championship leader Jenson Button to just ‘RELAX’!  The British driver had a Schumacher-esque start to the season, but it’s all been going pear-shaped for him recently.  First we heard from injured Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, who gave his assessment of Button’s predicament: “In my opinion, Jenson has gone down because of the pressure. It’s the only reason.”  Now Nigel Mansell, yes, you heard correctly… M-a-n-s-e-l-l, the aged former F1 driver, has taken on the role of Agony-Uncle to give Jenson this advice: “He’s got to untighten himself.”  Err, what?  Moving swiftly on… never one to miss a trend, Badger is jumping on the advice-giving bandwagon to say RELAX!

Raikkonen withdrawal symptoms still persist for this writer, so here’s a Pits from March 2010:

PITS.  Kimi Raikkonen withdrawal symptoms – Do you feel nauseous/sad/depressed/suicidal [delete as appropriate] when you watch a race without Kimi?  Do you sometimes google him for kicks?  POP almost cannot cope without him.  It was a blow enough to lose Juan Pablo Montoya 2006, another of POP’s favourites, but to lose the legendary Kimi “Iceman” Raikkonen is beyond comprehension.  POP had subsisted in a wonderful world of off-season denial… until the season re-started on Sunday and Kimi and his icecreams were nowhere to be seen.  Where is he??  Rallying, apparently.  Did you know that his first rally outing was in Lapland, Lapland, LAPLAND??!!  It’s true, the Iceman went to Lapland to compete in the Arctic Lapland Rally, and perhaps to spend some time with Father Christmas, who knows?  POP prescribes a large dose of Raikkonen, taken at twice daily intervals.

It wouldn’t be a proper edition of Podium or Pits without a mention of Jonathan Legard, would it?  This snippet is from October 2010:

PITS.  Jonathan Legard on Twitter – Inadvertant comedy gold.  Marginally better than watching paint dry….

Pitlane exit. Silverstone say no risk of flooding, no drainage issues cos new lake built to cope

Pitlane garages

Drizzle in Mokpo, nearest city to Korea gp track. Meant to continue all night. Turn 16 was being repaired again tonight

Lotus announce building of wind tunnel at team base at Hingham

Well that’s it for now folks, it’s been a pleasure combing through the Podium or Pits archive … there were lots of stories which didn’t make it, but then again that’s because Formula 1 is just such good POP fodder!  If you have any of your own personal favourites you’d like to see republished then let us know by emailing, and you can also follow me on Twitter by clicking here.  It’s been a POP-tastic few years…