Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

An F1 fan's tale of avoiding Grand Prix results // How to avoid spoilers on Twitter and mainstream media

Published by Turkey Machine

Sidepodcast image
Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

I'm going to tell you a story.

It's a story about a Formula One fan who was forced not to watch a Grand Prix, did everything in his power to avoid getting the result spoiled for him, and seemed to fail quite miserably.

This all happened over the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix weekend. I had to visit some friends to celebrate a house move / garden renovate and a birthday at the same time. Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, a lot of food was barbequed, and good fun was had by all, amazingly myself included!

The journey there was uneventful. The only thing keeping myself entertained was a very drunk Irishman chatting to anybody and everybody about everything on a connecting train. Prior to this train journey, I had updated myself on the events of Friday practice 1 and 2. Sébastien Buemi's suspension failure at V-max was the only high(low?)light, and I have no idea how an upright can fail like that. Both Red Bull and Toro Rosso will no doubt now be looking very closely at their designs, since they are quite similar in basis (2009 model STR, 2010 model RBR), to avoid it happening again. On the plus side, the gravel did it's job in slowing the car down, but the way the wheels launched themselves over the fence must raise some concerns (Imola 1994 anybody?), as they evidently did not slow down before attempting new height records for Bridgestone.

Rosberg appeared to be quite fast and consistent, and was my tip for the win (although I wasn't betting any money on him). Schumacher was again struggling. A subsequent BBC article now sheds light on the fact that the 2010 Mercedes is not ideally suited to the 7-time world champion, and Rosberg is able to hustle it more because it suits him more. If you don't have grip, you ain't going anywhere.

At this point, I vowed to myself not to spoil the FP3 or qualifying result until I had watched one or the other, and subsequently I also vowed not to spoil the race result. This proved far more difficult than originally planned.

The train journey back home was rather eventful. My first train was late by a good 20 minutes, so I missed a connection I needed to make. After consulting with the station manager a taxi was ordered on Northern Rail's account to go to the next station I needed to get a train from. A three-quarter hour stop for lunch was in order, and a train to the penultimate station was duly caught. A bit of persuasion got me a taxi, again on Northern Rail's account via NXEA, home again from that station.

Sidepodcast is a wonderful site, but unless you're up to date with F1 results you're going to have the race spoiled for you if you visit the home page

Before I got this penultimate train, a plan ensued. How quickly can you download a 3 hour programme from BBC iPlayer with mobile internet? How much can you download with 3G / HSDPA internet access while you still have a signal? The answer came when I opened my laptop and attempted to navigate to the BBC iPlayer website.

I have my home-page set to Sidepodcast, and the problem I had was that Chrome had decided it would no longer cache it. Sidepodcast is a wonderful site, but unless you're up to date with F1 results you're going to have the race spoiled for you if you visit the home page. So I had to improvise - open a new tab, close the SPC tab, and navigate to the iPlayer website. I found the BBC F1 Grand Prix coverage, and duly set about downloading it. By the time my train arrived, around 300MB of 2.1GB had been downloaded. Not bad for mobile broadband in about 40 minutes.

When I arrived at home, it transpired internet access had not been fixed, and measures were being taken to rectify the fault - a new Orange Livebox was being sent out to replace the Netgear DG834G that had failed during the recent power cut and ADSL product migration. I work for an ISP, so how did I not know to change the end-user equipment?!

During this home ADSL outage, Sidepodcast wouldn't load without mobile broadband intervention. So after changing the home-page temporarily, I set about downloading the rest of the Grand Prix overnight to watch Monday morning. £15 worth of Three mobile internet was needed to successfully get this programme downloaded. Was this Grand Prix worth £15? It had better be...

One thing I noticed during that GP weekend is that it is incredibly difficult to avoid Formula One news when a Grand Prix is on, especially if the main websites you visit centre around F1. Having Sidepodcast as your homepage probably doesn't help the chances of avoiding spoilers! Nothing against that, honest!

I had managed to avoid news programmes which almost always carry F1 results and reporter opinions. Thus when I left to go catch my first return train, I was none-the-wiser as to who'd won!

Given three quarters of my Twitter feed is Sidepodcast folk and F1-related personnel and fans, there are always going to be spoilers

The main problem/issue I have is that social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter almost always carry spoilers about a Grand Prix, which is annoying if you're trying to avoid knowing the result. Facebook is especially bad for that because of idiots who don't really understand that others might not want to know results. Twitter is a given, but only if you subscribe to certain people's feeds and lists. Given three quarters of my Twitter feed is Sidepodcast folk and F1-related personnel and fans, there are always going to be spoilers and exclusives and inside scoops.

Increasingly now, mainstream websites are also carrying F1 headlines, much to my chagrin as an inpromptu visit to Yahoo Mail had the race result spoiled for me before I had the race downloaded with an apt headline revealing the result in amongst the emails I wanted.

A quick glance at emails had spoiled the result for me. Thanks a bunch Yahoo. Remind me to just POP you instead of visiting webmail.

The last time I attempted to go a weekend without knowing the qualifying or race result (2009 Monaco Grand Prix), I did so well, only to be told who was on pole by my father. That wasn't so bad. Humour ensued with potential race results and events. "20 cars went round, 1 was on pole, 1 was the winner, another finished 2nd, and another finished 3rd, etc." I didn't have the race result spoiled, and I went home and downloaded the race (*ahem* iPlayer to the rescue), watched that and qualifying just before it to get up to speed, and it was all good! A really enjoyable race, a decent and almost perfect way for an F1 fan to actually go away for a weekend, come back, catch up on the viewing, then go head-first in the forums and websites to discuss events. That I can live with. The fact I had cable internet back then helped with the downloading part!

These days, it's almost impossible to avoid spoilers for anything, but those who dedicate hardest to avoiding them will get their sweetest rewards. Do a half-baked job, or make a crucial error of judgement like I did, and you'll get a less-than-ideal outcome.