Welcome to the third part of my season preview, where I shall tell you about some of the things which enhance my F1 viewing.
The first two parts are:
Rules and Tools
Teams and Drivers
Once upon a long ago, when F1 came on, you just sat down on the sofa and got on with it. Then the internet came along, and you could access whatever information teams chose to give you online. And you could chew the fat with other fans on various forums, or fora, I suppose if I'm being correct about it.
For me it was Twitter that was the biggest enhancement to how I enjoy F1. It gives me the chance to chat away, in real time, as the race is happening. A couple of years ago when there was all the turmoil about the future of F1 and talk of a breakaway series, much of the F1 Twitter community, most of whom I still hang around with now, came together to call for Max Mosley to resign. Vote Liberal Democrat European posters vied with Maxout avatars in my Twitter feed. Tweeting through a race is great fun - although if for some reason you miss a session, you have to remember not to go anywhere near Twitter, which is no good at keeping secrets. The downside is that you get too engrossed in Twitter that you miss bits of the race. It's still a net gain, though, especially as some of the drivers are on there. Have a look at my F1 list to see some of the lovely people I follow.
It's also really useful to have access to the live timing screens when you're watching - it particularly enhances qualifying when you can see who's on a flying lap as their times turn purple. It can be quite compulsive. I either use the official F1 website which is free, or, to my shame, I also have the iPhone application so I can surreptitiously sit in a boring meeting and "watch" events. That costs £20 (which reduces proportionately throughout the year) but it's so worth it. You can see the GPS positions of the drivers on track so you can see who's coming into traffic or trouble. You can flick between the live timing screens and the GPS at the touch of a button. The app also has all the team and driver info you will ever want to know and a news section too. There are variations of this app for Android, Blackberry and Ovi. It is a ridiculous extravagance, but I love it.
I also frequently check the BBC F1 website which has its own driver tracker and bags of information including Jake Humphrey's fabulous blogs.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check the BBC News application on my phone. The second thing I do is to check the Autosport app. It costs £2.99 and has a regular supply of news from all sorts of motorsport so I can keep tabs on rallying and DTM too. If I'm at the laptop, the Autosport website is indispensable.
That, I think, is pretty much it. Is there anything you use that I haven't heard of? If so, let me know in the comments.