The Secret Diary Of A Formula One Blogger: Part I

The Secret Diary Of A Formula One Blogger: Part I

Last week I came to the realisation that I spend a lot of time on BlogF1. I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: The site is essentially an extension of myself. My personality, thoughts and opinions. It is where I learn, where I inform and most importantly, it is where I have fun. So with Japan being a difficult weekend to cover (I’m in Europe), I thought I’d share with you all what I do and how I do it. For the next two days, I will be keeping a public diary.

Flyaway races are always hard to cover simply because of the time difference, but no matter what Bernie Ecclestone might try and say, I love them. I will admit I would love this particular one more if it were at Suzuka, but hey-ho. And I will also admit, I prefer flyaways at the start of the season because I am full of energy and anticipation. But even towards the close-of-year, waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning to watch twenty cars drive around a track; it still seems special to me.

These two posts (essentially, Saturday and Sunday, ish) will cover qualifying and the grand prix, before, during and after. They will be updated sporadically because obviously, I’m also going to be doing other things. I have no set timetable for updates, but to help you along the way, I’ll Dent everytime I’ve added an entry. For those unfamiliar with, just follow the link and keep it open in a separate window – you may want to refresh it from time to time. Or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed – details of subscribing to feeds can be found by clicking the Subscribe link at the top of all pages on BlogF1, just skip the site-specific stuff.

I should also mention that the diary will have little in the way of structure. Given the time of the morning and the fact I’m running a semi-popular blog, my entries will probably resemble a hash of comments, one-liners and the occasional naughty-word. But it will be me, it will be BlogF1, and I hope it will be fun.

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 19:21

For the last entry of today, I’ve been out and about checking other sites and the backlinks to my own. This evening I’ve been touring the F1-blogosphere and reading other people’s writing on qualifying and news stories of the day. I feel it is important to read other people’s work because often they will take a different view on things and mention something I didn’t even realise. A good example being that I totally forgot about the fumbled pitstop for Massa in qualifying today, but it was mentioned elsewhere on the web. Thankfully, it was brought up in the comments – so yay for comments. They really do add to the posts.

I’ve also added to the comments elsewhere, giving my opinions on things and offering further information where I think I can add it. And I noticed that F1Fanatic linked to couple of my posts in his ‘Links’ article. A welcome return for these posts on F1F, I feel. I always enjoyed them before because with so much online-noise in Formula One, it is easy to miss great and informative posts from lesser known sites. Plus, BlogF1 gets the occasional link as well.

And I noticed earlier that my post-writing speed has increased. The article about Jean Todt and the FIA was churned out in about 15 minutes from start to finish. For a 500 word article that included a few links and sources, I thought that wasn’t too bad. Often, the newsy posts are quite quick to write though; it’s the inbetween posts that delve deeper into either Formula One or my own opinion that can take up to a day (on and off) to write.

I’m also considering what is too much information, and what is not enough. Occasionally I’ll see an article on a popular news site that doesn’t even reference a team or driver name, but other times I see too much extra info in an article and find myself getting confused or bombarded as I read. And also, how many posts is too much for one day? Autosport tend to go over the top and write many articles for essentially one story. But then only tends to really come alive during a race weekend. tend to have better writing though, so I can forgive them. But transferring that question to BlogF1, I’m considering next year’s post structure for race weekends. Lots of thinking…

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 15:31

So I have a new plan. It was kinda forced upon me by sleep. I took a nap at about 9 o’clock this morning with the intention of waking up at about 11am or so. Instead, I woke up at Midday but still felt tired. So I decided to close my eyes again and sleep ’til whenever I woke up again, and then stay up through to Sunday evening. And now I’ve woken up again at 3pm, I feel totally refreshed, but my body has no clue what time of day it is.

I just skipped through some of the feeds that had updated while I was in dream-land and found the article about Todt and the FIA on interesting. I always presumed that Todt changed roles at Ferrari in preparation for some kind of FIA ‘promotion’, and it seems with Piccinini’s resignation it may be starting to happen. I’ll blog about it after I’ve put the grid post up. First though, I need to eat breakfast, again.

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 08:44

With the qualifying report now up, I intend to scoot around the web for an hour or so, reading what others have had to say about the day’s F1 activities, then go for a nap and get the missing couple hours sleep from earlier. Then mid-afternoon I’ll write the grid post. The grid post normally comes later in the day incase there are any pending issues from qualifying. I don’t think there are any today though because we usually get to hear of them sooner rather than later. Following that it’s just the live blog post to type up for midnight and any interesting news story that deserves a mention.

Wow, it’s not even 9am yet!

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 07:15

Now the result post is up, I can relax a bit, get some breakfast and start the report post. Writing the reports is always the hardest thing for me to do, especially the race one. The reason is because there is often so much to talk about I run out of time and space. And I nearly always forget something. I also try to make the posts balanced, but that can be hard sometimes when drivers have anonymous races and others are making all the moves and getting all the attention. A good example from today might be Toyota versus Kubica. Toyota were screaming “look at me” while Kubica quietly popped his BMW into sixth. The Polish driver outperformed both Toyotas, but all I can remember of Kubica qualifying was his final run.

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 06:50

During qualifying and race, I always have the text editor open and update the positions/retirements as they happen. So I sort of take part in the live blog, update the positions for the final post, check live timing and also watch the TV. Formula One is all about multi-tasking!

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 06:30

So Glock is going for coporate pole and Steve Ryder is nowhere to be seen in the padock. Lots of things to write about for the qualifying report then. The green tyres are just stoopid and half the people in the live couldn’t tell the difference between prime and option. And boy, Fuji is a boring circuit…

Saturday, 11th October, 2008 – 05:10


It felt a little like Christmas morning just now; I spent a few moments figuring out why my alarm was going off at some absurd hour, then felt a small rush of excitement. I now have infront of me already the key componants to watch qualifying… Coffee, apple juice, notepad & pen, live timing, ITV. And as my mind wakes up, I’m slowly starting to come round to the idea of getting rest during a flyaway race weekend. In the past, I’ve simply stayed awake, but this time around, maybe old-age wouldn’t let me. But considering the time of day I don’t feel too bad.

I forgot to say yesterday, if there are any questions about F1-blogging, please ask in the comments. I’ll try to answer in the next update or in the comments myself. Brundle’s just doing his track guide at the moment and I should log into the live blog and wake up some more before my stint modding.

Friday, 10th October, 2008 – 20:50

I should just add that I also have completely random conversations on as well, often with many people who comment here on BlogF1. But during qualifying and race, I rarely update, so any updates should stand out a little better. Also, tomorrow I will ensure the post-intro is no more than one paragraph, therefore minimising scrolling and finger-ache. I didn’t really think of that today and had my head been screwed on a little tighter, I would have done an ‘Explanation Post’, followed by the series of entries. But hey, I live and learn.

Friday, 10th October, 2008 – 20:22

I am absolutely shattered. But it is for a good reason. Last night/this morning I watched my very first Free Practice session all the way through. After a decade-and-a-half (near enough) I watched a 90-minute practice session. And of all the races to choose, I picked the one where I have to stay up all night! I’m not going to lie and say it was spectacular, because it wasn’t. But I am pleased I did it. I watched the video on ITV’s site because they won’t show the sessions on the actual TV, and I had the ususal F1 Live Timing whirring away on the monitor. And to be honest, the only reason why I didn’t see the second session was because I had to go to work. I caught the first ten minutes or so, but then the shower beckoned and off to my non-nine-to-five job I went.

But having only got little over an hour’s sleep, I’m feeling pretty crap right now. The plan is to head off to bed at about ten this evening to get some zeds, and then I’ll be up and bright before the sun to catch qualifying. I’ll probably add another update before qualifying, and I’m modding Q1 for Keith’s Live Blog. Then I’ll be off writing and blogging, but I’ll keep you all updated. For now though, I’m just chilling out on the eve of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, sipping a cool glass of Veneto Pinot Grigio, checking out other F1 websites and blogs and wondering if I really know what I’ve let myself in for with these two ‘diary’ posts. I’m also writing the ‘Live Blog’ post, which is always pre-published beforehand to 00:01, just in case I fall asleep and forget. That post is usual easy, the only difficulty is finding a techie image to go-with.

Oh, and BlogF1 is supposedly fixed, by the way (feel free to catch with my dents on For the past two days it has been even slower than normal. As in, it took about a minute to load and further minutes to do anything else. As of yet, I have no idea why, but I’m fairly certain it was database-related (the whole site pretty much runs off a database) and most importantly, I pretty sure it had nothing to do with me! My host (Media Temple) is normally superb – rarely a falter in the past year -but I’ve submitted a support ticket just to find out why it went weird. But touch wood, it has all returned to its regular lazy self. Fingers crossed it stays that way for the weekend.

Helpful Links:

And that really is me in the Fisichella cap – don’t ask, long story…


  • Last night/this morning I watched my very first Free Practice session all the way through.

    wow, i had no idea?

    a fine idea for a post ollie.

  • wow, i had no idea?

    I’ve caught bits and pieces in the past, but never a full session primarily because of two reasons…

    Firstly, when I was a kid growing up with F1, free practice wasn’t televised and the Internet barely existed. In fact, let’s be honest, the only reason you’re able to watch the sessions consistently is because of ITV’s recent addition of ‘net streaming. Although, having said that, did R5L cover Free Practice on the radio?

    And secondly, I’m normally at work when it’s on for the Euro-zoned races. I occasionally sneak in a sly comment on Sidepodcast with ITV going in the background, but I’ve never before seen a session from start to finish.

    a fine idea for a post ollie.

    I thank you good sir, and also for your help on Muchly appreciated.

  • Although, having said that, did R5L cover Free Practice on the radio?

    only recently.

    however, last year i used to sit and watch pretty much every practice session via the medium of live timing.

    mostly sitting by myself watching numbers scroll by and inferring the details. if you listen back to our 2007 audio shows you can tell how little info i had, because most free practice discussions were an endless list of unknowns.

    i caught some fp sessions on tv while in europe in previous years though. in think rtl have been showing them for years.

  • Great idea for a post Ollie!

    I have only seen the sessions this year too. And like you Work is a bit of a problem for the Friday ones. Saturday morning I try to catch most of the time, but it is a bit tricky because ITV don’t believe it exists.

  • I have the opposite problem – Fridays are easy for me to catch, while Saturdays are either lost in work (I do one Saturday every four weeks at the library) or going shopping/changing books/going to Grandma’s with Dad. Though I will admit that my excuse this time was a desire for a couple of hours’ more sleep…

    That said, the whole household makes sure that nothing prevents me or Mum from watching qualifying.

  • interesting point about the f1f links post. last year they were a godsend, but i’m wondering if they haven’t now been superseded by the likes of vee8’s daily linkage?

    vee links faster, and more importantly, he links regularly. i read all of keith’s linkage days ago.

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