Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Sites for sore eyes (Part 2) // Another five driver websites get a closer look

Published by Mr. C

This is the second part of a project that sounded quite simple when we took it on. Check out all twenty driver websites, see what they're like, review and rate them. Turns out it was a mammoth task and this is only part two. If you haven't already, visit Part 1 to read our thoughts on the first five driver sites and then prepare to be amazed by our next five. As before, I'll be writing from the perspective a fan, looking at content and information, whilst the italics will be from the geek about geeky stuff. Let's go.

Nelson Piquet

Nelson's site

For such a confident young man, the website is actually quite understated. I do like the graphic at the top that runs through the series and the cars he has driven in, finishing with his current Renault role. There’s lots of interactivity, however, with video, audio, and even a game! You control the Renault F1 car around Interlagos, and let’s just say even Piquet could do a better job than me. But still very fun.

Take any thoughts or criticisms you may have of this site and put them to one side for a moment. Nelson offers us an F1 game to play, and if this thing doesn't have you addicted till the small hours, something is quite probably wrong with you. I can already see a mini Sidepodcast competition in the offing.

Getting back to the site, Mr. Piquet has found an acceptable balance between usable navigation and flashy little widgets. I feel I should start rating these sites on the quality of the circuit maps, every driver seems to have them and Nelson doesn't disappoint on this score either. Points must be deducted however for the annoying repeating image that sits at the top of the page. Some people might approve, but not I.

Nico Rosberg

Nico's site

Now, this site scares me. It says: “Begin full screen journey.” I don’t really want to go on a journey, I just want to look at some stuff about him. There is an HTML option, which I chose, and I was left very disappointed. Nico wants his site to be something different, for people to be able to see him as something other than a racing driver, and that’s fine. I respect that. But all the site actually does is show him posing with some soundbyte quotes. The photos are amazing, but not enough to sustain my attention for long.

I'm not sure I've ever described a website as 'epic' before, but Nico's surely is. I do worry about a homepage that feels it necessary to explain basic navigation before allowing you in, and thankfully a plain vanilla version is provided for the wary, but take a look inside and you're presented with a browsing experience like no other. A lot of thought has gone into this site and in terms of brand identity I'm not sure a driver has ever looked cooler, or less like a driver in fact.

The initial blank page is seriously off-putting and will be more than enough to frighten off or confuse the inexperienced. I think along the way someone confused the brief that said "design me a website" with one that said "make me a Hollywood star". Happens to me all the time.

Kazuki Nakajima

Kazuki's site

Well, it’s not the best design I’ve ever seen, and apparently it has “All rigths Reserved.” A lot of the links open in new windows, or resize the page somehow, and to be honest, a lot of them point to the Williams' site anyway. So, you may as well just go there.

Yikes! Every link I clicked took me to a completely different website, the first of which appears to simply be a long list of various GP results but nothing more. It's hard to think of anything good to say about this one, it reminds me of the web of yesteryear. At least nothing jumps around and if pushed I'd say the photos are... well... nice.

David Coulthard

David's site

I think it’s the use of frames on this site that makes it feel really out of date. However, it’s nice that he has a personal blog on there that is updated regularly, and he’s really honest about some of the things that go on behind the scenes. I was encouraged to find a video diary on there prior to Melbourne but that seems to have been a one off. There’s also a very obvious and blatant link to his column on ITV.

Pleasant, is the way I'd describe the experience of David's homepage. It doesn't try to do too much and it's reasonably straightforward to navigate, although I'd argue the left-hand links are redundant as they're simply duplicates of the horizontal menu.

The helmet that moves back and forth is a bit ridiculous, it's unresponsive and often bears no relation to the page you're looking at, while the token video is of poor quality but notable for its original take on cinematography. When was the last time you watched TV in portrait mode, I ask ya?

Mark Webber

Mark's site

Ah, the curse of the cross promotion continues, as Webber links to his BBC column. Do you think that makes any rivalry between them even stronger? Anyway, Mark’s site is littered with links which are quite confusing to navigate, but it usually means you are never lost. It’s easy to get back to where you started from, but not so easy to get where you want to go.

I love that Mark's using a circuit layout as his site map. It's such a fine idea I feel we might even have to steal borrow it for Sidepodcast. It always helps with site content when a driver has a life outside of racing and it's here that Webber has an edge. A restaurant, his 'challenge' and his clothing collection should all make for good reading, but sadly all the links lead to other sites.

Nothing annoyed me about markwebber.com, and it worked consistently on every browser I checked it against.

We're halfway through our list of driver websites, and I'd say we've covered pretty much everything from the garish to the dull and the sparse to the crowded. I wonder what delights await us in part three.

All content in the series Website Reviews 2008