Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Although the season has finished, there are still lots of things to look forward to, and plenty to look back on. Throughout the 2008 season, Williams released a podcast after every Grand Prix, and the shows were packed with interviews and features to give any fan something to listen to. The podcasts have stopped for the winter, but they are still available as a download, and I thoroughly recommend listening back through the year, if you haven't already.
I am part-way through listening myself and am really enjoying what I'm hearing. The presenting can sometimes be a bit starched and stilted, but the information we're getting is insightful and makes you feel much more a part of the team.
Each show is structured in a similar way, with different elements making up the entire podcast. Firstly, there is always a segment looking back at the race that just happened, evaluating how well the team did, and more often than not, how they could have done better. Then there is an interview with the drivers, usually separately. Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima tell us how they are preparing for each weekend, and what they get up to in their spare time. It's not all about Formula 1 either, as I've just listened to a couple of episodes where Rosberg tells us which sport he'd want to compete in at the Olympics, and Nakajima talks about his time at university.
Then there's an interesting Behind the Scenes segment, which features a look at some of the departments you don't usually hear about, but the team couldn't function without them. We've met the team that run the Corporate Hospitality boxes, talked to those in charge of Logistics, and even had a secretive interview with the incredibly important simulator department. They even featured an interview with some Toyota personnel, as Williams run a customer engine from their rival team. This is my favourite part of the show, as each department is something that most teams have, but you wouldn't normally get to hear anything about them. I didn't realise how much hard work was involved serving lunches for the team at a Grand Prix weekend!
Finally, the interview returns to the track, with Sam Michael or another one of the engineering team preview the next race, looking at how the team hope they will do and whether the car should be any good. Obviously, the Grand Prix talk is out of date now, however, I still think it's worth listening to. If you don't want to relive the season, I would heartily suggest keeping an eye out for the podcast, and hoping it returns when the 2009 season begins.