The poor state of Formula 1 team websites
Robert Scoble is famous for saying that if your marketing website doesn't have an RSS feed you should be fired. He's taken a lot of criticism for that stance and when I first read it I wasn't convinced it was that big a deal. However, I was recently compiling a list of Formula 1 team websites and was disappointed to find that only one of them had an RSS feed for it's news page. So I guess I'm now a believer.
For those not familiar with Formula 1 racing, there are currently 11 teams. All teams are required to design and manufacture their own cars (the engine may be bought in) to very high standards of both performance and safety. There are 18 races this year in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Annual budgets range from $40M to $300M and staff levels from around 100 to over 1000. 6 of the 11 teams are owned by or closely allied to major motor car manufacturers. So this is a big global business - a long way from the likes of Champcar or IRL - and only the best will do for even the smallest of F1 operations. Even the manufacturer owned teams depend on external sponsorship and sponsors require maximum exposure in order to justify the money they hand over. That makes every chance to expose and promote their sponsors very important to the teams. So you'd think they would put a lot of effort into their web presence....
Well in a way they do. Almost all the sites are slickly produced by experienced web design agencies. Unfortunately these design agencies seem most intent on fulfilling a brief that was penned by someone who knows nothing about web usability or even good web marketing - as long as it looks pretty on this person's screen, they are happy.
The following is a table of woe. As you can see, only Renault have an RSS feed for the news section of their website. Many of the websites are all-flash affairs. Now I don't object to the use of flash on a website, but if the entire site is one big flash file it makes it impossible to bookmark pages, navigate using the standard back and forward buttons, or copy/paste from press releases etc. And that's without going into many of the accessability issues that web-standards fanatics like to go on about. Those sites that avoid the all-flash fate then have a chance to fail by using Frames is such a way as to make the bookmarking of individual pages almost impossible.
|Team Name (link)||RSS Feed||All Flash||Bookmarkable pages|
|Midland F1||-||-||X |
|Scuderia Toro Rosso||-||X||-|
|Toyota F1||-||-||X |
|Super Aguri F1||-||?||?|
Renault F1 is the only team to come out with full marks - fittingly for the 2005 world champions! Williams, Midland F1, Toyota F1 and Honda are almost as good, they just need to add an RSS feed so fans can keep up with their news more easily. The rest should hang their heads in shame, sack their current web partners and start again.
[Note: Super Aguri F1 haven't really got a website yet - they're got their work cut out getting a car ready for the start of the season being the new boys for 2006 - so I'm not rating them yet.]
The websites indeed could be better. This is a very important part of the image of a company. So I’m not exaggerating when I say that those sites should be upgraded.
Formule 1 () (URL) - 09 01 13 - 15:38