Normally this column is called ‘Podium or Pits’, but this week we should be calling it ‘Podium or Hospital’ given the sheer number of hospitalisations of Formula 1 people!  Ouch.

The Korean grand prix – it may have dictator Kim Jong-Il for a northern neighbour, but South Korea is relatively politically stable in comparison with Bahrain which recently canceled the opening race of the Formula 1 season.  So all the more reason to go to only its 2nd grand prix being held this year!  And the best bit?  It’s going cheap!  Organisers are slashing prices, Furniture Village-style!  The cheapest ticket is now 87,000 won (down from 128,700 won) – don’t ask what a ‘won’ is, but POP thinks that you’re certainly onto a wonner if you buy a Korean grand prix ticket!

Bernie Ecclestone – after last week’s devastating cascade of news which put Bernie firmly in the pits, POP has decided to take pity on the little man and put him on the podium this week.  He’s come out with some corkers in a recent interview, and POP thought it only right to share them with you all as a means of light entertainment.  Enjoy!

“Sex and money make the world go around.” – Bernie Ecclestone: astro-physicist in training.

“Women don’t have to play golf to make deals” – what are you implying, Bernie?

“Formula One must never be political – full stop.” – Mr Speaker, that’s just not true, full stop.

“Alonso is said to be a bit difficult!” – couldn’t agree more (see below…)

“Why not let it ‘rain’ in the middle of a race?” – because it doesn’t rain in the Bahrain desert, duh.

Sir Jackie Stewart – the Formula 1 legend, and general promoter of the tartan flat cap look (they’ll come back into fashion one day…), Sir Jackie Stewart was taken ill on a flight this week.  He was suffering from chest pains and passed out during the flight.  He was then taken to hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery.  POP sends best wishes to Sir Jackie: get well soon!

Timo Glock – my goodness, POP is spending a fortune on imaginary ‘Get Well Soon’ cards this week.  Timo Glock is yet another Formula 1 personality to be taken to hospital this week … with appendicitis.  Glock has had his appendix removed, and is due to miss some pre-season testing.  He should be fine for the impending new season, so POP will hand you over to the wise words of the man himself:

Great news can leave hospital today !!! Straight back home but unfortunately more recovery no training!!! Thats boring !!! – Timo Glock, via the magical medium of Twitter

Robert Kubica – the signs are good that the Pole will be back fighting for pole before too long.  Robert Kubica, or ‘Bobby K’, is still in hospital (as is, apparently, the rest of the F1 field), and will be for a few more weeks at least while he recovers from surgery.  His doctor has made a positive assessment of Bobby K’s progress:

“What is very important is there is no sign of infection, which is the main concern, and he also no longer needs intensive care, so he has begun the rehabilitation process.”

And now, a non-hospital related POP entry….!

Fernando Alonso – always a feature in the Pits, Alonso has now incurred the wrath of the Spanish government for criticising proposed changes to the speed limit in his home country.  They are reducing the limit to 110kph (just a touch under the UK speed limit of 70mph).  Alonso has made his feelings very clear, “at 110kph it’s even hard to stay awake.”  We get it, you like driving fast.  But there’s no need for arrogance.

POP better send a warning to Alonso’s fellow drivers in the eventuality of a ‘slow’ safety car period during the Australian grand prix:  Alonso can’t control it, but he may have a little disco-nap if the average speed falls below 110kph.  It’s like the plot from the film Speed!  Hang on, that’d be damn hilarious to watch.  Fingers crossed for a safety car…