Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Anything you can do - McLaren take on board Force India's social ideas

Published by Christine

I have another little story for you about Twitter. I know, all anyone talks about these days is Twitter and if you're not signed up, it's really annoying. I apologise. Stick with it, though, because we'll get to the fundamental principle in a moment.

Yesterday, we were hanging out in the comments, and noticed that the Force India Twitter account was asking for questions for Adrian Sutil. Within minutes, they were inundated, and the man himself came on to answer the questions. Now, I don't know for sure if he was sat in front of the laptop and typing, or if the IT bods were doing it for him, but it was Sutil, in direct contact with fans, giving them the information that they wanted to know.

It was a brilliant thing to watch, and a couple of Sidepodcast regulars got their questions answered as well. Sutil was funny, articulate, and optimistic for the future. Go Force India!

A while later, McLaren's Twitter (oddly called The Fifth Driver - has anyone figured that out yet?) called for questions about their preparations for Monaco. I'm sure this appealed to some, but it wasn't quite as exciting as the Sutil thing. In a similar move to Force India, McLaren found that Heikki Kovalainen was in the factory, and got him onboard as well.

In fact, it didn't come across as just similar to Sutil, it was the same thing... but not as well done. Whilst Force India had obviously given it some thought, checked that Sutil was okay to spend some time talking to the fans, and carried it out perfectly, McLaren appeared to have flailed about to try and capitalise on the idea. The original call for questions seemed like a hurried response to the FIF1 idea, then they stumbled across Heikki, and pulled him in to post. It wasn't a carbon copy Q&A but it was certainly an attempt to do so. I know for a fact it made Amy's day, but it felt rushed and chaotic.

This is somewhat reminiscent of McLaren's approach to F1 this season, isn't it? They desperately want to do well, to get on with the FIA, to connect with fans, but each time they do something it doesn't quite come out right. They say the wrong thing, they cause a stir, they still hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. I don't know what it is about them that has this air of "uncool" but I'm almost certain it wasn't always this way.

I don't know about anyone else, but I thought that Ron Dennis's decision to leave meant that the team could start to flourish in a new and interesting direction. I'm not sure this is what I (or they) had in mind. The one thing they did better than Force India yesterday was to make use of Twitpic. McLaren remind me of the rich kid at school who always wants to go one better, and can afford the latest and greatest gadgets to do so, but somehow, they still seem to get picked on.