Twitter’s growth has been explosive since its launch in 2006, underpinned by its ease of use, mobile device integration and mass-adoption by not just a large number of individuals and corporations eager to voice their message, but also by celebrities and sports personalities. It’s now home to many of the biggest names in Formula 1.
The uptake of Twitter by those in the world of F1 was slow at first, with only the Brazilians really showing much affection for one of the fastest growing companies of 2009. Now however, members of the F1 circus not on Twitter are becoming an exception to the rule rather than the norm. Teams over the 2009/2010 winter realised the demand for tweets and the fan base it can nurture if implemented correctly and regularly.
To neatly bring all of this F1 Twitter frenzy together, we at SkiddMark have collated the best links to help you get the latest F1 buzz, gossip and opinion directly from the sources themselves. If you want to see Heikki Kovalainen’s insider photos from the paddock, Jaime Alguersuari’s hyperactive tweets or Mike Gascoyne’s musings from the pit wall and more, then scroll down to interact directly with the stars of modern F1.
+ [This article was originally published on 3rd March 2010 and was last updated on 4th August 2010]
The Drivers and Teams
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa aren’t on Twitter and don’t expect the former to ever be after recently saying if someone wants to contact him they can use a phone. However, the team has an official Twitter page that can be found under InsideFerrari. Not as entertaining as their quarterly press release rants, but surprisingly warm and informative all the same.
No sign of life yet from Adrian Sutil or Vitantonio Liuzzi on Twitter, though test driver Paul di Resta joined Twitter in late July. The team also has their own Twitter account that is regularly updated under Clubforce. You can follow the team’s journey to each race, step-by-step details of their test days and the highs and lows of each race, including what Adrian Sutil has for lunch on race day…
These regular updates and openness have led Force India to surprisingly become one of the most followed teams, showing that Twitter can overcome preconceptions over teams’ popularity amongst fans. If you’re interested in Force India’s owner, then Vijay Mallya is around on the Twittersphere tweeting about racing to business.
HRT (Hispanic Racing Team)
Both Bruno Senna and the recently announced Karun Chandhok can be found regularly tweeting away, though you may need your Brazilian translation book handy to decipher many of Senna’s tweets. HRT’s PR lady Tabatha Valls keeps fans of the small team up to date.
Jarno Trulli’s too busy crushing grapes to be tweeting, though his team mate Heikki Kovalainen has the time to talk to his thousands of followers. The team has their own account, as does their charismatic owner Tony Fernandes and technical director Mike Gascoyne, who is very open and honest even when the chips are down. You’ll even madly enough receive tweets from Gascoyne mid race, such is Lotus’ passion for involving their fans in the experience of a race weekend. Team Press officer Tom Webb, Jarno Trulli’s race engineer Gianluca Pisanello and Head of Vehicle Dynamics Elliot Dason-Barber are all also on Twitter.
Tony Fernandes could be described as a PR manager’s nightmare, using Twitter to announce major changes within the team whilst moving about during his busy week, but his many followers benefit from such an open and candid style which is very much the essence of a man who modelled himself on Richard Branson and EasyJet’s Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Lewis Hamilton still thinks he’s too cool for Twitter, but the same can’t be said for Jenson Button who’s been a regular tweeter since early 2009. Test driver Gary Paffett recently joined Twitter and the team also have their own account under the TheFifthDriver moniker. This account is full of exclusive pictures from the factory and the track and is well worth following. McLaren’s strong interaction with its fans has led it to becoming one of the most popular Twitter accounts on the grid.
Despite reinventing himself for 2010, Michael Schumacher isn’t on Twitter, but if you want to follow fake profiles of the seven times world champion, you’re spoilt for choice. Nico Rosberg‘s official account is now updated regularly, though only usually post-race. The team is an active participant on Twitter providing interesting insight and media content along the way.
Sebastian Vettel obviously wants no distractions in his push for the 2010 title as he avoids joining the F1 Twitter party. His team mate Mark Webber is one of the latest drivers to join Twitter and we look forward to hearing from Webber in his usual matter-of-fact way. The team is also aboard the Twitter bandwagon.
Robert Kubica hasn’t managed to find Twitter yet, though you can follow Vitaly Petrov if you’re fluent in Russian. The team has their own official account, so expect to see more activity here over time with an investment company behind it keen to close the gap between the internet and cars.
Whilst Sebastien Buemi has thus far scorned Twitter’s advances, his hyperactive team mate Jaime Alguersuari more than makes up for his team mate’s absence. Tweeting in an over excited manner at all hours of the day, sometime DJ Alguersuari also uses geotagging to keep his fans updated on his exact whereabouts as he lives the dream. His team is also a regular part of the F1 tweeting fraternity.
Lucas di Grassi was one of the early adopting Brazilians and has continued to tweet regularly now he has established a ride in F1. His German team mate Timo Glock is now also part of the Twitter community, tweeting often in both his native language and English. The team’s official Twitter account is full of the enthusiasm and fun you’d expect from a Richard Branson led franchise.
The team has now launched their full website, so expect Virgin Racing to quickly climb towards the top of our list of social media savvy teams during 2010.
Williams have often been ahead of the marketing game versus their rivals and so their intensive involvement on Twitter should come as no surprise. Veteran Rubens Barrichello was one of the first drivers to use Twitter as shown by his monstrous number of followers. F1 new boy Nico Hulkenberg is also a reasonably regular tweeter as he looks forward to being rookie of the year.
Williams’ PR and Communications lady Claire Williams manages the team’s official Twitter page. Head of Comms Liam Clogger and IT support specialist Mark Arnott are also Williams team members regularly tweeting interesting photos.
There are plenty of other individuals on Twitter who may not thrash around the track every other Sunday but nevertheless bring entertaining and interesting views to the table.
From the world of the journalism, we strongly recommend following James Allen, Will Buxton, Adam Cooper, Adam Hay-Nicholls, Jonathan Noble and Joe Saward. From the guys behind the lense, Mark Sutton from Sutton Images and freelancers Alex Comerford, Darren Heath and James Moy are always charming and open with those who engage with them.
For those after technical analysis, follow the excellent Craig Scarborough for immediate in-depth but simple to interpret analysis from a very talented illustrator.
Jake Humphrey from BBC F1 often provides amusing photos as the race weekend progresses, with his co-presenters Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie also lurking about and tweeting occasionally. You can also keep track via Martin Brundle’s co-commentator, Jonathan Legard, who provides some interesting insights on race days.
BBC F1 5 Live team are also on Twitter in the form collectively and individually with David Croft and Anthony Davidson. BBC Sport Online’s Sarah Holt has in excess of 10,000 followers and shares some great behind-the-scenes stories from the BBC’s F1 team.
If you want un-PC laugh a minute mid-race tweets, then look no further than SniffPetrol.
2010 and Beyond …
2010 is already a fascinating season on and off the track. As technology develops that allows us to feel more involved with our favourite drivers and teams, we hope to welcome more personalities to this page.
Have we missed anyone from our list of essential F1 sources to follow? Let us know and we’ll add them in our next update.