F1 on Wikipedia

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F1 on Wikipedia

What do you think of the quality of Formula 1 articles on Wikipedia?

I’m forever researching different topics to do with F1 and, as with so many online subjects these days, Wikipedia dominates the search results rankings.

But is the information on there any good? Have you edited any of the Wikipedia F1 articles?

There are WikiProjects for Formula 1 and Motorsport and they have produced some excellent material.

In collaboration with other Wikipedia users the articles submitted are given ratings in order to help writers improve them. At the time of writing seven articles are rated at the highest level: Featured Article. These are Damon Hill, Alain Prost, Tom Pryce, Brabham, Brabham BT19, 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and 2005 United States Grand Prix. (The piece on Formula One itself used to be a Featured Article but has now been down-graded).

As good as these articles are, many of the other features suffer from the same problems as other Wikipedia articles – particularly the biographies of current drivers – in that many of the contributions aren’t very useful and serve only to make the articles very long.

The Lewis Hamilton biography is a typical example, and last year was briefly locked for editing because it was being so regularly vandalised (not least of which by a Spanish employee of Mercedes).

I used to contribute to Wikipedia quite a bit but I now invest that time in updating the various information sections on F1Fanatic: biographies, circuit information, team information, history, statistics and more.

Do you use Wikipedia to find out more about Formula 1? Is it reliable?

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “F1 on Wikipedia”

  1. I can’t help think that it’d be more efficient for Wiki/someone to develop a "database" that, once one input race results, would automatically update driver and team pages.

  2. Would be happy to host something like that here if someone could develop the software.

  3. Hmmm… I might be able to develop it, Keith.  But since I’ll be on vacation this May, I probably won’t be able to finish it until June.

    Email me in the address I indicated in this post so we can talk specifics if you’re interested.  :)

  4. F1db.com as a database but unfortunately did not developped the requests where it could be very interesting, for example comparing lap times of different years, see who wing when, so what is the race with most lead changes etc…

  5. I used to edit Wikipedia a lot a few years ago, but I decided there were better ways for me to use my time. In fact, I am the creator of ten circuit articles, Timo Glock’s article, and the articles for Red Bull Racing, Midland and Toyota F1! I also created the article entitled ‘Future of Formula One’ which is now one of the major Wikipedia articles related to F1. I definitely had way too much time on my hands back then…

  6. I’ve spent some time on this idea.  I have most of the schema designed (it’s surprisingly hard – how do you record a car that started a race with one driver and finished with another, for instance).  I have all the tracks and events imported.  The next step was to start on drivers, then team, results, times, etc.  The problem is that it takes forever.  I don’t want to be accused of unfairly using someone else’s information so I’ve been doing a lot of hand work and fact checking as I go.  My theory is that once the data is in a RDBMS I can do _anything_ with it.

    I’d like to put it up on my own site w/ advertising, so I don’t feel comfortable just screen scraping f1db.com or allf1, etc.  Does anyone have a free digital source of this information in any format?  I would gladly do the work of getting it in a database.  My idea was that I would maintain the DB moving forward and make it freely available in a easily exchangeable format, maybe sqlite, then anyone who wanted to use it could do whatever they wanted with it, and I could build an advertising supported front end with the functionality I’m interested in and I think others would be interested in also.

  7. MJohnHurt is a LOT further ahead of the curve than me… Better if we use his idea. :) Free digital source? Hmmm… Here’s some suggestions:


    Hope that helps!

  8. I do find wikipedia an enjoyable read on a wide variety of subjects, sometimes the dept to which the articles are taken can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, F1 seems the be one area they had a lack of interest in. As at the last time I read the wiki F1 article, I felt it lacked dept and was probably written by individuals who lacked a broad knowledge of F1. Perhaps it has changed since then, late 07, perhaps not.

  9. Wikipedia articles generally cannot be trusted as the site itself can’t police it effectively. It’s a shame because an online encyclopedia could be really useful, but inevitably it’s just a bit rubbish.

  10. On the subject of databases, might there be an oportunity to use dabbledb.com here? It’s an interesting concept which I haven’t yet had time to fully explore.

  11. I had a look at dabbledb.  It’s really fascinating but it’s not a great fit for the master repository.  I would see someone taking my DB and throwing it into dabble to play with it.  That’s a sweet update interface though…  I wonder if they handle exporting?  I think I’d shell for the monthly fee to do rapid prototyping and updating in that interface if it would export back into SQL dumps.

  12. I believe they are working on an API atm… But as I say I watched the demo and thought "I need a project to let me play with this". So I’ve been on the lookout.

  13. My claim to fame here, I created the Lewis Hamilton article back in 2004.  Can’t claim much credit for what’s happened to it since though…

  14. Darn it Keith, I really could have used this article a day earlier, as I just finished a peice for f1-pitlane and was using wiki as one of my references. Some of the entries were pitiful – that is the only way to describe them. Not only were they extremely breif, but they were also factually incorrect ( as I was watching youtubes of the events I was writing about, and the pictures and words just didn’t gel).

    But when I googled the items I needed for extra info, the returns just weren’t there, and what was there wasn’t very ‘fleshed out’.

    I am all for a dedicated ‘F1 wiki’ website. Maybe we could call it rookiepedia.com or something?

    Anyhoo am happy to help develop it – anyone who needs a hand can get in touch with me via Keith or f1-pitlane.

  15. Trust wikipedia?

    Not one chance in heck. Keith apparently you experienced the biggest problem with the Hamilton issue. Controversial issues covered at wikipedia are the site biggest downfall, the place is infested with far too many zealots.

  16. I use Wikipedia only for quite limited purposes when it comes to F1 – generally for a quick overview of people I haven’t heard of, like new bosses of corporate F1 teams – and have never edited any article (on any subject). I prefer the specialised F1 sites because I know who wrote those articles and can figure out any relevant biases, which simply isn’t possible with an article that could, for all I know, have been edited by 100 people. The error issue is also a factor, though I worry more about it when I’m looking at fields I know little about. At least with F1, I can usually figure out what sites are best to cross-check a given detail.

    That said, I do currently have Kazuki Nakajima’s Wikipedia page open (I was checking where he’d done his pre-F1 racing)…

  17. Alianora, you may notice similarities between the Wikipedia biography and the F1Fanatic article on Kazuki Nakajima… I did a bit of writing on that one!

  18. I edit on Wikipedia and it is reliable if the sources we use are reliable. I keep it as well up to date as possible but all we need are more people to make it as packed full of info as possible! I know they are correct because we use sites like this as references for what we write. If anything is seen as wrong then you change it. Have you read any of the articles?

  19. I have Dave, but when I used to edit on there I got tons of grief from other users for using F1Fanatic.co.uk as a source because they didn’t consider it reliable. I gave up in the end because people kept deleting my edits.

  20. F1Fanatic.co.uk is not a reliable source as it is self-published, blog site, which is not a reliable source for Wikipedia guidelines.

  21. And that’s why I don’t contribute to Wikipedia much any more. I put a lot of effort into this site and I pride myself on always correcting any factual inaccuracy. To just describe an entire of genre of publishing as "inaccurate" is mindless and I take it as a personal insult that this site is not considered reliable.

  22. I believe the reason F1 Fanatic is not considered a reliable source is because it’s a ‘second-hand’ reporter (that is reports on news items that are reported elsewhere, rather than seeking out the stories), not because any of it’s content is unreliable.  It’s not intended to be anything personal against this site, indeed the rules on sources have tightened up again recently, so that many F1 websites that made the cut before are now having to be justified (and in many cases, without a major publisher behind them, fail). 

    It’s an example of WP being overly cautious, partially to try to overcome the stigma expressed against it by people such as Vertigo in #9.

  23. I can understand that it would be considered as unreliable but if any of u had a problem with the references being deleted then discuss it  on the talk page of the article. It can be counted as reliable because anybody who does things unreliable they get warned, the edits are removed and if they carry on the are classed as a vandal and blocked. We do take extra precautions of reliability and sometimes too careful which annoys some people. All my ITV.com references were removed but I edit the F1 Newsletter for the WikiProject and everyone else there excepts it as a News site! I am one of the Main editors though. 

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