With only a week to go before the 2009 Formula One World Championship kicks off in Australia, I thought I would take a short moment to mention some of the things you can expect from BlogF1 this year, some of the changes that will hopefully happen soon, and how to go about digesting all that is said and discussed on the site. As readership continues to grow and develop, it can seem a little daunting for first-time readers, but I hope I can help with a few handy tips.
For each grand prix (and I really do hope I can write about each and every race this year) several posts will go up to explain the events of the race weekend. Initially, it all starts on Friday, with Free Practice One and Two. These will be presented with a short description followed by the results table. Given that I usually work on Fridays the posts may not be as promptly published as others during the weekend, and therefore they may not get to the site before the evening. However, Friday is a good indication of where the teams are prior to qualifying. Although the sessions are often treated like tests, the drivers will be honing their set ups and often you can spot a driver who is about to have a terrible weekend.
Saturday is qualifying day, and just before the action commences an empty post will go up on the site. Usually titled [Race country] 2009: Qualifying Result, the results table will be populated as the session continues. It is my hope that unlike 2008, I will be able to complete all the lap times set in each of the three qualifying sessions. This is yet to be done by myself, but the challenge should be interesting. After qualifying has been completed, a longer and more descriptive report will be posted, noting any events worthy of discussing.
On Saturday evening (or afternoon for the flyaway races) a grid will be posted. The reason for the grid is that sometimes drivers receive penalties after qualifying has been completed. These penalties are often grid slot demotions, and therefore while the lap time set in qualifying is accurate, the final grid position changes. This post has in the past and undoubtedly will in the future get updated during the course of the time between qualifying and the race.
On Sunday, and again just prior to the race starting, the results post will be published and filled out as the grand prix progresses. Once complete, a longer report will be posted detailing the race from my own notes scribbled during the event. The race reports tended to be quite long last year, and at the moment I am toying with splitting these into three. This will mean that information will be posted slightly earlier as I can write, publish, write, publish etc… However, a decision on this is yet to be taken.
After writing up the race I will also publish the strategy table, which proved quite popular when I introduced it late in 2008. The strategy table encompasses the tyre compound each driver started on and then went on to change to during the race. The table also notes on which lap the pitstop happened. This particular post is tricky because it relies on my own observation skills. Not all drivers get a lot of air time and often pitstops are missed on the television feed. And likewise, not all tyre choices are noted by the commentators. However, the posts enjoyed a ~95% accuracy rate in 2008, so hopefully this will continue into 2009.
Currently, the proposed weekend schedule of posts on BlogF1 will look something like this, using Australia as the example race:
- Australia 2009: Free Practice One
- Australia 2009: Free Practice Two
- Australia 2009: Qualifying Results
- Australia 2009: Qualifying Report
- Australia 2009: Grid
- Australia 2009: Race Result
- Australia 2009: Race Report
- Maybe Australia 2009: Race Report II
- Maybe Australia 2009: Race Report III
- Australia 2009: Pitstop & Tyre Strategies
All the results tables are able to be printed without comments and the other bells and whistles on the site. When the new design goes up (more on that later) the results posts will be separately linked to from the homepage for your convenience. A few examples can be seen here. Practice | Qualifying | Grid | Race | Strategies.
Of course, any breaking news between the sessions will be reported in much the same way as they were before. These go up as separate posts and are treated just like regular blog posts. In between the races, BlogF1 will continue reporting the big stories as well as the small but equally interesting stories. When there is a lull in racing, I’m sure I will find the time to write the longer articles delving into the sport’s past, which have proven quite popular recently.
Away from the content itself, I am still beavering away on the subtle redesign of the site. It isn’t a major overhaul, but it is an improvement over the current feel and function. Initially this was hoped to have been completed prior to the Australian Grand Prix, but now, with just a week to go, this isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to put a timeframe on it, but the rejiggle of the site will go live just as soon as it is ready.
With the season fast approaching, I’ve noticed RSS subscribers start to increase. I have written a page describing to visitors how to subscribe to the site’s feeds, but for those who are looking for the shortest of the short answers, just click the orange (or blue in Firefox 3.0+) RSS icon in the browsers address bar. You can either subscribe to the feed in a reader, or save the RSS as a live bookmark in some browsers. This way, you’ll know when the site has been updated without having to load the site each and every time.
A new feature for 2009 is the ability to subscribe to comments without the use of the RSS. Instead, under the comment box is a check box, that if checked (and submitted with comment), the email address used to comment with will be added to the list of subscribers to that particular post. Each time a new comment is added to the post an email is sent to you. This service can be unsubscribed very easily by visiting the post, clicking the Subscription Management link that appears in the same place. If comments do suddenly increase to the point where I would find the levels of emails annoying, I will deactivate the feature, but put up a notice informing those of the action. And as always, your email address is kept secure and will never be shared.
As always, comments are cherished on BlogF1, and last year there were many great conversations and debates. All are welcome to comment on BlogF1 but first timers should quickly read the Comment Policy page to understand what is acceptable and what is not. Again, to cut a long story short, be respectful to one another. I should also point out that all first time comments go to the moderation queue. This means they are not immediately published. This is just a quick verification to ensure you aren’t trying to sell medication or any other dubious product. After your comment has been deemed good, most other comments get through fine after that. A couple of exceptions are if a comment has a few links in it, or you use harsh language. I check the moderation queue regularly during the day and am fairly quick at sorting this out.
Caption Contests will of course continue, every Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. And when the redesign eventually goes live, there will be a couple of other regular postings, like the Daily Debate (CC and DD, geddit?) and some better utilisation of the voting thingy that you all seem to like. Unfortunately, the way I have the site set up currently, and the way the next version works in my mind, I am unwilling to start these until the new design goes live. It’ll all be great fun though and worth the wait.
That just leaves me to ask readers if there is anything you would like to see added, content-wise. Is there anything else I can add to the race weekend family of posts, or is there any kind of series you would like to see on the site? Would you like me to cover any particular driver, team or event in the longer posts? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do…