Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Sites for sore eyes (Part 1) - A review of the F1 driver's presence online

Published by Christine

During the Monaco weekend, discussion in the comments fell to drivers and their websites, specifically a comparison between Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg and their relative dot coms. We decided it’d be an interesting idea to look at all the drivers websites and compare them, and now seems to be as good a time as any (because I am fighting having to talk about Max for as long as possible).

So, for clarification, I will be approaching the website as a fan, seeing what information is out there, and the geeky one will look at, well, the geeky stuff. So, let’s start.

Kimi Räikkönen

Kimi's site

It’s always good to be confronted with a great picture to start with, and Kimi’s site opens with the Ferrari facing you head on. It’s clean and navigation is simple, there’s the usual biography and press releases, but it’s all very easy on the eye. There aren’t many wallpapers, which makes the multimedia page a bit over the top, but there’s a shop, a forum, and info on the official fan club, so plenty of places for fans to interact.

Something odd happens when I click on Kimi's shop or forum links. A whole other website opens that seems entirely unrelated to the previous one and if I try to buy some merchandise I end up at a third one! On the plus side the forum appears to be pretty active, the general layout of the site is good, and blimey it loads fast.

Felipe Massa

Massa's site

Argh, my eyes!! It’s garish and bright. Nagivation is simple enough but the sheer amount of flashy animation involved makes it hard work. Plus, the picture on the left keeps on smashing into pieces and falling off screen, to be replaced by another. It’s very distracting. There is a nice Ask Me feature, where you can submit a question and Felipe will answer the best ones, but I couldn’t bear to stay on the site long enough to read many of them.

Gah! The thing I dislike more than anything in the world, are websites that play music without my permission. The chances of me listening to some proper music while browsing the net are pretty high, so interruptions are always annoying.

The site itself is way too high maintenance, and feels like it's aimed at the younger F1 fan. On the plus side it is translated into three languages, but since when have you had to pay to use a forum?

Nick Heidfeld

Nick's site

Nick’s website isn’t flashy or pretty but it’s very easy to use and stores a lot of information. As well as the usual news and biography, there’s some articles about Nick and his own GP Diary. There’s a lot of writing about the car and the team, which is good to see, but perhaps a bit too much. I didn’t take the time to read it all. In fact, once I’d read the “Quick Nick” stats and found out his favourite food was liver, I was too put off to go much further.

You would have thought with all their money, an F1 driver could afford a proper domain name. I had to check three times that I was in fact visiting the correct site.

In usability terms Nick's place has a nice layout with a simple menu structure, although a couple of times I came across database error messages. It lacks the personal touch though, being piggybacked onto a corporate site in this way.

Robert Kubica

Bob's site

Just like Räikkönen’s site, Kubica’s official site opens with a great close up of him in the car. It’s in Polish, and I couldn’t see any options to translate any of the articles, although there was the occasional piece in English. However, there wasn’t that much to translate anyway. Information about the season, news updates, a contact page and a countdown timer pretty much make the substance of the site. The images of the track are really good, mind you.

Pointless, is probably the best way to describe Robert's site. It's one and only saving grace is the 2008 season page which features some damn fine circuit graphics, in fact they're some of the best I've ever seen. Aside from that there's nothing to keep you around for more than 20 seconds or so.

I do love a short domain name though.

Fernando Alonso

Ferni's site

You’re presented with a lot of information on the homepage, most of it quite in your face and distracting. However, if you take some time to adjust, it’s then easy to find your way around. Whilst all the basics are there, news, biography, etc, the whole feel of the site is a bit impersonal. A lot of it is third person, and you kind of think maybe Alonso doesn’t have anything to do with it.

When I first visited the site it made a noise like a strangled animal, and I couldn't for the life of me work out why? Eventually I tracked the offending squawk to an advert at the base of the homepage... not the best welcome in the world.

I couldn't get the shop to work, and the whole place screams "sell-out" with far too much marketing and not enough substance. Ferni's history section is a superb way of looking back through his career, but has been implemented in what can politely be described as a 'unique' way.

Sheesh, we've only done five? That seems like enough to be going on with. This may take longer than I initially thought. Never mind, though, check out part two for the second half of our driver site rundown.

All content in the series Website Reviews 2008