BlogF1 has had an interesting year to say the least, and I thought it would be nice to recap some of the finest moments from the past eleven months or so in an end-of-season review. This will enable new readers to quickly see into the archives of what has been the busiest year on the site already, and will also allow me and other regulars to look back at some of the more interesting moments from 2008. So as the last 2008 review post, I present to you a BlogF1 2008 special.
The year started off with some difficulty – in fact, I wasn’t sure the blog would be able withstand the pressure I would be putting it under. On 24th December 2007, I slipped and broke my left wrist, which although meant I got out of cooking the Christmas dinner, it also meant that typing would be tricky at best. I was very concerned about the maintenance of the site and how an inevitable decrease in posts would affect the numbers of visitors and level of interaction.
My fears were quickly allayed though. Up until January 2008, the most I had ever written in one month for the site was 45 posts. The first month of this year though saw me churn out 57 – I won’t deny it, it wasn’t easy, but for some reason I felt there was reason to write, and I just got on with it.
Maybe writing so much was my rebellious nature coming through, determined to not let my injury get the better of myself or the site, or maybe it just distracted me from my discomfort? Who knows, but 57 didn’t remain the new record for too long. The season build-up went well and with a change of cast came some extra flexibility. In March the site saw 73 articles published which garnered a then-record level of responses.
The start of the season was wonderful and with my wrist healed and the physiotherapy process in full-swing, BlogF1 grew once again, just as it manages to each and every year. Comments were up, new readers were joining in all the time and the motor racing wasn’t bad either! I managed to get a new design up in April which garnered many wonderful comments of praise and constructive criticism, and generally speaking, everything was charging along nicely.
The second break of 2008 took the wind out my sails though, and it came at a point when the Formula One season was just getting it’s second dosage of momentum for the final half. Not feeling able or wanting to post left me disconsolate, and the site suffered as a direct result. Getting back on the blogging wagon is very difficult when you exclude yourself even for a week. Retuning my senses into reading humdrum press releases and looking for little nuances in the language, assessing how one issue affects another and just sitting down and typing all became a worry I didn’t want.
However, once again, my fears were allayed. The site did suffer from the lack of activity, but the most important of readers and commenters remained loyal. Slowly but surely I found my groove again and after missing most of the German Grand Prix (the results posts were later added for convenience reasons) and not really paying attention too much at the Hungarian Grand Prix, BlogF1 returned for Valencia. In hindsight, I should have moped around for an extra two weeks, but Valencia it was – you can’t rewrite history.
By September BlogF1 was back in full swing and the enjoyment factor had returned. The controversial races that the ninth month saw added many new visitors to the site, all wanting to voice their opinion and traffic, interaction and buzz had been restored. This remained through to the end of the year, when after the Brazilian Grand Prix, a nice bottle of Chianti was opened and the site toasted.
Since then nothing has stopped. You may have noticed that posts are still being published and I’m still trying some new things (although the Season Reviews proved unsuccessful to me). Behind the scenes, BlogF1 is having it’s make-up reapplied and some new ideas have been bouncing around my mind. With regards to the make-over, I will just say that 99% of what you see right now is remaining. The homepage is receiving a little restructuring work, but to be honest I think that is it. I’m also working out a way for you guys to vote on the Caption Contests, with the possibility of a prize for the winner, and a Daily Debate idea has been spiraling around for a while now, but that needs some fleshing out before I can discuss further.
So with lots happening before the build-up to Australia begins in February, I thought I would take one last look back through the 624 articles I have written this year (so far) and pick out the ones that I enjoyed the most. The ones I enjoyed writing, and the ones that I enjoyed the feedback from. This is my pick, and it is for you…
- Why Is The Grass Always Greener: A post written as a sort of challenge to myself. Taking a question and applying it to Formula One, Why Is The Grass Always Greener talks about Jenson Button and his BAR/Williams saga..
- Five Seconds Flat: The Anatomy Of A Pitstop: Sometimes it’s nice to get creative, and this is what I attempted while discussing a pitstop. It was one of the longest posts of the year, weighing in at about 3000 words.
- How Many Races Has Barrichello Driven?: A look at the confusion surrounding the amount of races Rubens Barrichello has driven.
- What One Rule In Formula One Would You Change?: I particularly enjoyed this piece because many readers of the site came out of their shells and commented for the first time.
- Ladies, Get Ready To Say Hello To The Grid Boys: A fun post, although I’m not sure if anything ever came of it in the end.
- Formula One Chassis Designations: There’s little more enjoyable than learning something as you type. I remember the research needed for this post was quite exhaustive because nobody, it seemed, knew why Honda called their car RAxxx. I got there in the end though.
- Are There Enough Food Fights In Formula One?: That was a serious question as well, and a really great post to write. I like discussing the slightly offbeat, perhaps comical side of the sport. It’s good to laugh every now and then.
- Big News For British Fans: F1 Returns To The BBC: A very good day in the UK for fans of Formula One.
- Eddie Jordan: Still Causing Mayhem In Formula One: I loved this story, and was sorely tempted to bunk off work and drive up to Silverstone to check it out for myself. Eddie Jordan has a very special way of dealing with things, and as he ages, his ‘pranks’ just get better.
- BlogF1 In The Sunday Times: Look mum, I’m in the paper! The circumstances in which I found out were also quite comical.
- Seven Months Early, But Still Managing To Be Late: The hotly anticipated version six of BlogF1. I loved writing this post and I loved the feedback in the comments. It was a memorable day for me.
- How Can I Watch Formula One Online?: One of the most read posts of the year – I guess you all wanted to know! I’ll be re-writing this before the 2009 season gets underway.
- Smoking & Drinking In F1: Do Mumms Always Know Best?: Many different thoughts aired in the comments to this post about smoking advertising bans and the way alcohol advertising is still allowed in Formula One.
- What Does A Formula One Driver Eat?: A look at Robert Kubica’s weight loss and what the drivers eat to help them achieve their goals of driving fast and maintaining strength.
- Could Danica Patrick Be Formula One’s Next Female Racer?: Any excuse to post a picture of Danica on the homepage, but the question was serious enough, as were the answers.
- Villeneuve Was Lucky, But Heidfeld Should Be Worried: When the FIA had a moan about rally driver Sebastien Loeb looking scruffy, I couldn’t help myself and took a look at some of Formula One’s more recent drivers-who-forget-to-shave.
- Who Is Lorenzo Bandini & What Is His Trophy?: A look at Lorenzo Bandini and the legacy he left in the shape of his annually-awarded trophy.
- One Clocked Bugatti, One Mangled Porsche A Very Lucky Ferrari: The day Anthony Hamilton made the papers after crashing a Porsche Carrera.
- The Value Of A Decent Racing Circuit Is Lost On Ecclestone: A look at the way Ecclestone appeared to be getting rid of some of the greatest circuits on the calendar and replacing them with, erm, not so good ones.
- Why Drivers Take Their Hands Off The Wheel In An Accident: Following an accident Giancarlo Fisichella suffered while testing, I took a few moments to explain something odd that happens in the event of a crash.
- Chicken Soup & A Neck Brace For Felipe Massa: Felipe Massa injures himself. In a lift. While sneezing. No joke.
- Why Hamilton Should Do The Triathlon With Button: A look at Hamilton’s management, and the chickening out of a man challenge at the British Grand Prix.
- An Update & Explanation: I did not enjoy writing this one, but the responses bowled me over and helped BlogF1 get back on track. A lot of love was shared that day in the comments.
- How Do You Watch Formula One?: Asking readers how they watch the sport – internet, TV, radio etc…
- Putting All The Red Eggs In One Basket: An assessment of Ferrari’s usual strategy of backing one driver to the championship.
- Gone Fishing At McLaren: A wonderful article about a young lad doing his bit to raise money for charity. This piece will always be remembered for that comment – to date the best to have ever been left on BlogF1.
- (Anti) Social Formula One Media: Part I: A two-part series looking at how the media in Formula One can be quite anti-social.
- Williams: 500 Races Young: Aside from the many other milestones Williams reached this year, 500 races was one that stood out in my mind.
- Three First-Timers On A First-Timers Podium: Part I: A three-part series that was sparked by a question in the comments. I loved researching for this post and many of the comments were in praise of this.
- The Secret Diary Of A Formula One Blogger: Part I: It wasn’t a huge success, but over the course of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend I allowed you a small insight into my world as I kept a diary of what I was up to. I really enjoyed it.
- Are The Stewards Ruining Formula One?: A look at the stewarding process and their recent decisions which have caused controversy.
- A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: The French Grand Prix organisers do unto the FIA what the FIA did unto the Canadian Grand Prix organisers.
- Another Year, Another Qualifying Format: Once again, the powers-that-be are meddling with something that isn’t broken, much.
And just one last word from me before I wrap up this review of 2008…
…BlogF1 is nothing without each and every single one of you – your comments, emails and conversations. The site has grown and will hopefully continue to do so into the new year and new season.