April 20, 2024

What team sites looked like in the pre-YouTube era RaceFans

Formula 1 was strikingly different 20 years ago: roaring normally aspirated V10 engines instead of turbo-hybrid V6s, cars largely adorned with tobacco advertising and a completely different driver roster (aside from Fernando Alonso, of course).

Life online was also unfamiliar to him. The Internet had not yet become the ubiquitous beast of today. YouTube and Twitter (never mind ‘X’) were in the future, and Facebook was still called TheFacebook.

But all 10 teams had long realized that this was the place to be. Even Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One management belatedly agreed and got in on the action, having acquired the rights to the Formula1.com domain two years earlier.

In a world transitioning from slow dial-up connections to high-speed broadband connections, and with the mobile Internet revolution still some way off, F1’s websites were much more modest than they are now. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine allows us to go back in time and look at what Formula 1 websites were like, before the era of Web 2.0 and responsive browsing, back to when Flash ruled the day.

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equipment

ferrari

As reigning champions in the midst of their dominance over the sport, Ferrari’s website was, unsurprisingly, one of the most comprehensive available, and was packed with promotions for its telecoms sponsor with six-time champion Michael Schumacher.

McLaren

As one of the most popular teams in the early 2000s, it’s no surprise that McLaren had one of the most stylish presences on the web.

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Jordan

The much-loved extroverted Jordan team was looking more and more like a spent force in 2004. Founder Eddie Jordan would soon sell out (note the upbeat quote above), beginning a long series of name changes that would end with them becoming Aston Martin.

But their website was exactly what you’d expect from their team with a healthy dose of their signature bright yellow.

Minardi

As “everyone’s second favorite F1 team”, Minardi had many fans as the biggest losers on the grid. The darlings put fan engagement at the center of their website, with a fan membership feature.

Like their car logos, the instructions for the design seemed to “compress as much as possible.” Sadly, like Jordan, the Minardi name disappeared at the end of the following season.

Sauber

In the striking blue colors of title sponsor Petronas, Sauber’s website was surprisingly loaded with content for one of the more modest teams. However, its 2004 version was not particularly well preserved: this one is from the following year.

Jaguar

Jaguar’s effort in Formula 1 in the early 2000s was not as successful as the team or then-owners Ford would have liked. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the team’s website, which is perhaps the worst preserved on the Wayback Machine.

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toyota

Toyota was another team that entered Formula 1 with great ambitions but failed to achieve them by never winning a race in its eight seasons in the sport. As one of the world’s largest manufacturers, it is no surprise that Toyota’s F1 website was one of the most attractive and detailed of the time.

BAR

BAR enjoyed its best season in 2004, finishing second in that year’s championship with 11 podiums for Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, but no wins. Although BAR’s website had a sleek “high-bandwidth” version of its website, only its low-bandwidth site appears to have been preserved in a usable state.

renault

Renault was one of only three teams able to win a race in 2004, apart from Ferrari, along with McLaren and Williams. Jarno Trulli’s victory at the Monaco Grand Prix (the team’s only victory that year) not only failed to keep him on the team for 2005, but Flavio Briatore left him before the year was out.

williams

Williams’ partnership with BMW was important during the first five years of the new millennium. Naturally, BMW was a big part of Williams’ marketing and brand identity and that was reflected on their website. Although there are no good captures from 2004, this version from the middle of the 2003 season offers a good idea of ​​what it was like.

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Other places

F1

The Formula 1 website, Formula1.com, was not acquired by the FOM until 2002, becoming the official site ahead of the 2003 season. In 2004, the site was not as comprehensive as it is now under Liberty Media. Without something like F1 TV either (Ecclestone long resisted putting F1 videos online), the website instead offered a gallery of screenshots of global coverage of post-race broadcasts.

FIA

When Max Mosley was still president of the FIA, the site still provided a direct source for official documents, making it a useful resource for competitors and fans alike.

ITV F1

ITV held the live broadcast rights to Formula 1 in the UK from 1997 to 2008. From news, columns by commentators James Allen and Martin Brundle to galleries of ‘pit babes’ and ‘pit boyz’, the 2004 version It was undoubtedly a relic of its time. …

fast television

For US-based motorsports fans, the Speed ​​channel was the main place to watch many big series, including Formula 1. As this screenshot shows, they also had interesting programming on the channel. .

donkeyhacef1

Social media may not have existed, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t team members joking and posting the obvious online.

This unique website created in 2004 saw two Jaguar mechanics having fun in the latter part of the season with an inflatable donkey from the Shrek series that they had won in a promotion. Donkey had many fun exploits around the world and was eventually signed by most of the grid and auctioned off for Children in Need.

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Screenshot from F1 Fanatic 2006: Michael Schumacher retires

The 2004 season was also the last before a certain website appeared: F1 Fanatic, a precursor to RaceFans, arrived in 2005. Here’s what the site looked like the following year, on the race weekend where Michael Schumacher announced his retirement.

To you

Do you have a favorite Formula 1 website from before this one existed that is now gone? Share your memories in the comments.

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