Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Sites for sore eyes (Part 4) // The final installment of our tour of Formula One driver websites

Published by Christine

We've reached the final five websites in our mammoth task of reviewing all the drivers and their web real estate. Check out the first three parts before enjoying this last set of reviews.

Rubens Barrichello

Ruben's site

Wow, I didn’t think websites were allowed to have scrolling information anymore. That must violate some kind of human right somewhere. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of background info on there, and a column from the man himself (at the time of writing, it was still post-Turkey). There was also some audio, although I couldn’t tell you what they were saying.

There's something very peculiar going on with the rendering of this site. Each time I navigate to a new page, there's a not-so-subtle bounce effect that happens before the layout settles down. Once or twice isn't so bad, but it becomes tiresome quickly. It's fine on Safari, but Firefox has issues.

Aside from that, I have a desire to stretch the layout and make it wider. There's too much wasted space each side of the main column. The background image is nice without ever being distracting, but the separate shop makes a poor attempt at trying to match the main site's look and feel.

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo's site

Given that computer screens are getting bigger and bigger all the time, I don’t really understand why this site is so small. I can hardly read the writing. Plus, for some reason, some of the news sections open in a new window, maybe because they need more space? It does look good, but I can't stand the strobe effect and I didn’t want to spend too long on there.

Giancarlo's homepage needs an epilepsy warning, the flashing may only be brief, but it's enough to quickly become painful. Here we are looking at a site that has the worst kind of Flash integration - the bulk of the pages written in the usability-challenged format while the news page is HTML and not integrated at all. I'm a fan of minimalism, but the size of typeface used here would challenge even Superman's eyesight and what's with all the bleepy noises?

Something that's a slight worry for the Italian is the fact that the Fisico Entertainment link on the right-hand side leads to a domain parking page. Someone, might have failed to renew that one, oops.

Adrian Sutil

Adrian's site

The first thing I saw on this site was the Dates in May bit, which seems to lead to a calendar. I’m not entirely sure why, as unless I’m missing something, it really was just a calendar for 2008. The sponsor logos are a bit omni-present which is quite annoying, and overall there didn’t seem that much to do.

Adrian appears to have inherited the Fisi disease because rolling over the menu provides a scatter gun ensemble of electronic bleeps. I had headphones on while viewing the site, and it felt like something was burrowing into my skull.

Like Christine, I'm baffled by what the calendar is telling me (beyond what any other calendar would). I found the orange theme quite appealing, pages responded quickly and the animated transitions were, well, bearable.

It's worth noting that this site has been designed by Adrian's brother Daniel, but how much difference the family touch adds is difficult to put your finger on though. Probably not much.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis' site

The Hamilton site looks good, although the lead story in the middle of the page is a warning for fans not to accept counterfeit autographed goods. That’s not really the most positive start for a site. It all appears to be a bit new, as the fan club is accepting “pre-registrations” and the charity page talks of the “Lewis Hamilton foundation coming soon.” But it seems to be a good base for when it does get going.

I was expecting to dislike this site, figuring that the "hand of Ron" was bound to have extended onto Lewis' personal site, but that doesn't appear to be the case at all. It's understated and simple to figure out. I was confused slightly by the inconsistency of the left side navigation, but apart from that it's perfectly usable and devoid of the corporate touch.

There is a significant lack of content however. You'll not find any circuit maps, nor photo gallery on this site, and some of the promised content simply points to a fan club registration form, while the Breaking News section points directly to McLaren's site. Work in progress is probably a fair summary.

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki's' site

I couldn’t really work out why you could have the page in either English or Russian but not Finnish, however that’s Heikki’s choice. There are two lots of navigation, one of which was a bit clunky to use between pages, and the other mostly led to pages under construction. Having said that, the content in the centre looks good and reads well, so all was not lost.

Heikki's site stands out amongst the crowd by virtue of the fact it doesn't appear to be very official. I mean, it's his name and he says he welcomes you in, but the site features Google advertisements and then says things like "our gallery" and "contact us". So who are these other people? A personal website should be just that shouldn't it? Additionally the website owner has a Hotmail address... hmmm, fishy.

Wikipedia says that this site is the official one, but it's a .net domain while the .com url points to Sutton Images. It's all very odd and I have to conclude the guy just doesn't care that much about the web. It's an okay site in terms of layout and design but "half-arsed" is the overriding impression. A disappointing end to our collection of reviews, no doubt about it.

So that rounds up our final set of driver website reviews, and what a blast it has been. As ever we'd love to hear what you think, because we are not pretending to be the authority on this subject at all. However, we've shared our opinion and now we want to hear yours, so go check out these sites and tell us your thoughts in the comments.

All content in the series Website Reviews 2008