Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Fiddling with Christine's Rankings - Updates to the other driver's championship

Published by Mr. C

Way back before the 2010 Formula 1 season began, Christine started what would become one of our favourite features on the site, Christine's Rankings. In fact the concept has been so enjoyable, Christine is planning on doing more of the same next season.

Initially created as an antidote to the baloney that is the Castrol Rankings, the idea was for Christine to award points to drivers based on anything other than how well they did on track. Celebrating fashion disasters and culinary talents, gaming high scores and interactions with the fans, drivers have spent all season climbing and falling in the most in-depth and accurate global driver ranking system Christine has ever produced.

Given the plan is to continue with more of the same next year, we figured we ought to look into enhancing what was essentially a revolving table of names week on week. In years gone by, site updates might normally be reserved for the off-season, but with the scheduled downtime decreasing year-on-year, we're pushing out updates as and when we can find the time.

If you've been following the site closely of late, you may have already spotted some updates, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a bit of a behind the scenes look at some of the changes we've rolled out already, as well as what's coming next.

Points mean prizes

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The most significant background change we've made, is to tie week-on-week point movements together. This means we can now display climbers and fallers compared to previous weeks. Additionally there's further scope to expand the data and calculate new entries, highest climbers and biggest fallers. Much like a Top 40 countdown in fact (there must be a podcast segment in there somewhere).

Once we know how much a driver moves throughout the season, it's relatively easy to plot a graph detailing the changes and we've added those to the mix too. As mentioned in the past, you'll need a modern browser to get the most from Sidepodcast and the rankings chart is no exception. If you have the latest and greatest version of Google Chrome or the beta version of Mozilla Firefox, you'll see a chart similar this one.

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At the moment only the top three drivers in any given week are displayed, while selecting a driver's disc from the legend will filter the view further. We've already had requests to improve how the chart looks and feels and we'll almost certainly be adding the ability to compare and visualise all of the drivers soon.

Techie bits

Unlike the charts recently added to the Factbyte Factbox, rankings data is drawn using inline SVG rather the Canvas element. Essentially I've been waiting the best part of 5 years to be able to drop vector markup into a standard web page and have it display as expected and Google finally made that happen with their stable release of Chrome version 7 last week.

Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer should all soon be able to display these charts too, it's just Google got their solution out the door first. Next time your preferred browser has an update, please do check back and see if our brand spanking new charts appear for you.

Beyond driver movements, we've also looked into adding nationalities into the mix. This might allow for further analysis comparing nations and suchlike, but squeezing all the extra data into the table is proving tricky.

Please do keep an eye on Christine's Rankings as the season draws to close, to find out who really is the best Formula 1 driver in the world. If you have any suggestions for further graph improvements or anything else we could be analysing, do yell in the comments.

Updated: Steven noted the chart also works in IE9 beta.