The Formula One auto racing season kicks off next Sunday with the Melbourne Grand Prix. Here's a look at some sites that let you follow the F1 circus on your mobile phone.
F1-Live.com: I've just found an i-mode version of the elusive F1-Live mobile site. F1-Live has some of the best F1 coverage on the mobile web with daily news and very detailed live reports. There are lots of photos and it's all presented in a mobile friendly and reasonably low-bandwidth format. The trouble is that F1-Live is only available as an exclusive feature within certain mobile carrier's walled gardens. So if you are a Vodaphone UK customer, F1-Live is on your carrier deck, the rest of us are out of luck. Once in a while F1-Live appears on a public url and now is one of those times. At least temporarily, there's an i-mode version of F1-Live at mobile.f1-live.com. Enjoy it while it lasts. Don't worry about the i-mode part, almost all WAP2 browsers can handle i-mode render i-Mode reasonably well.
I just noticed something weird, when I browse the F1-Live i-Mode site using Opera Mini, sometimes I can only read the lead story, all other links lead to a page offering me the privilege of subscribing for £1/month. The subscription link doesn't work either. Other times I can follow all the links. I've never seen this problem using my phones' native browsers on the T-Mobile and Nextel US networks or using ATT-Yahoo DSL. It looks like F1-Live's doing some sort of selective blocking - possibly by IP address or just randomly!
Update 18-Jul-2007: Gael at F1-Live contacted me with the good news that F1-Live Mobile now has an xhtml-mp version at mobile.f1-live.com which should be available to users on any mobile network. Live race coverage is also in the works, posibbly as soon as the 22-Jul Nurbergring GP. I took a quick look at the new F1-Live Mobile using Opera Mini - it looks great and all the links work.
BBC F1: The BBC has consistently provided outstanding mobile coverage of F1 over the years. The site's Formula One news is updated almost daily year round. On race and qualifying days, the BBC provides live lap by lap coverage. The site is available as low bandwidth WAP (wml) pages (bbc.co.uk/mobile/bbc_sport/...) and also in a richer cHtml "PDA" version (news.bbc.co.uk/solpda/...). Viewing the PDA site really requires a full-web mobile browser, and a fat wallet or unlimited data plan as it contains 202PX wide images and pages up to 60KB. The WAP version's much smaller page size (4KB) and fewer and smaller (66px wide) images make it a better choice for users on slow or expensive networks. Text is generally identical in the two editions including the live coverage of races and qualifying.
The rest of these sites don't have live race coverage but they do provide some good reporting of F1.
Eurosport F1: (mobile.eurosport.com/homepda.esoml?sportid=25) The cable TV sports network's mobile F1 section has some of the best and most complete post-race wrap up stories as well as in-depth coverage of testing, qualifying and the inevitable controversies over regulations and alleged improper driving.
First 4 F1: (first4f1.com/f1.wml) This is the ultimate F1 mobile trivia site. Up to date standings for the current season plus results, driver bios, statistics and more going back to 1950.
Ferrari: (ferrari.mobi) The official mobile site of the Ferrari Formula One racing team has news, photos, driver profiles, technical details, as well as the 2007 F1 calendar with circuit maps. There are even free downloadable wallpapers and ring tones. A very attractive and well designed mobile site for the tifosi.
Guardian F1: (sport.guardian.co.uk/pda/) The UK Guardian has a dedicated F1 page with unique and well-written race wrap-ups, driver interviews and analysis of goings-on in the sport.
Sky F1: Sky has a good F1 page with news, F1 calendar and championship standings in text-only wml format (mobile.sky.com/formula1_headlines.asp) and a chtml version with small (150px wide) photos (pda.sky.com/sports/pda_sports_menu.asp...).
O2 Formula 1: (http://o2.wap.twii.net/main.sps?param2=2794) Good coverage of the Formula One Grand Prix racing season including team and driver profiles, results and some photos.
There are links to all these sites on yeswap.mobi in the Sports/Motorsports section.