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F1 Advent Calendar 2010 (Day 4) - Twitter testing // Social networking becomes a big part of the F1 experience

Published by Christine

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This is the F1 Advent Calendar 2010, brought to you by Sidepodcast. We're reviewing the season gone by with a short show each and every day leading up to Christmas, and you've joined me on Day 4. We’re going back to the track today - Twitter testing.

We've already discussed some of the technical innovations that were introduced in the pre-season winter tests, but we were also quite excited at the leap forward teams made with their social networking strategies. Twitter.com was an incredible hive of activity, and provided an invaluable source of information, when there were no video screens or live timing to guide the way.

In those early days of 2010, we were particularly impressed with Williams communication officer Claire, who hung out in the teams garage, and took photos of anything and everything, keeping us updated on how the programme was going, and whether the drivers would be doing a long run or a short run.

Not only were the teams starting to catch on to this Twitter lark, there was also an excellent journalist and photographer contingent providing analysis and updates of what was happening out there in Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona. We were starting to see a glimpse of how connected F1 was going to get. By the end of the year, almost all the teams had an official Twitter presence, and plenty of the drivers had signed up too. We saw updates throughout races, some from the pitwall, and in one particular case, we saw one team advising another of a car problem.

It wasn't just Twitter, either. Websites were being redesigned, with comments being opened up for fans to have their say. Facebook updates and videos were starting to be commonplace, and the odd YouTube channel was opened up as well. Podcasts are nothing new in the paddock, but we saw even the new teams grab hold of this idea. The Lotus podcast was launched ahead of the season, whilst Williams, Red Bull, Renault and Force India all kept theirs going throughout the year.

When the launches took place in early 2010, there were several that allowed a live stream to take place on the internet. Taking their cue from Toyota's 2009 online only launch, the internet began to be part of the solution, rather than something stuck on that dusty computer in the corner. We saw livery launches, and live car unveilings, all from the comfort of our own homes. Granted there were quite a few that suffered server crashes and buffering, but that just goes to show how popular it all is. In an era of cost-saving, and with all the information released in a launch going straight online anyway, it's likely this is the direction we'll see car launches heading in for the forseeable future.

Also this year, we saw the debut of the McLaren Live Data Viewer. Accessible via the homepage of the McLaren site, during races, you could see an enormous amount of data, plus transcriptions of the radio traffic between both drivers and the pitwall. Renault had tried something like this previously, but it wasn't easy to use. This attempt by McLaren was certainly more accessible, give or take some hard to read typefaces, and added an extra dimension to sessions.

2010 was going to be the year of information overload.

That's all for this episode of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010. We're almost a fifth of the way through our season review already, and guess what? It's time for the season to start proper. Join me tomorrow for a peek at what Day 5 holds in store.

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