This month’s featured blogger is award-winning Tom Bellingham, who runs the offbeat motorsport blog WTF1.
Tom recently scooped the coveted Automotive Blog of the Year gong at the 2015 UK Blog Awards, so we thought it was a good time to catch up with him…
Hi Tom! How are you doing? Congratulations on your win. How do you feel about it all?
Thanks very much, it was a huge surprise. It was absolutely amazing to have so many people vote for me in the first place, and then to be picked by a panel of experts was unbelievable. The award takes pride of place in my flat now!
So, tell us a little bit about WTF1 – when did it start, and how did you end up doing it?
I started WTF1 while at university. It was nothing to do with my course but I just fancied doing something F1-related as a hobby. I'd always wanted to work in motorsport in some way but I was pretty rubbish at maths and science at school – you normally need to be good at them to make it into F1.
Blogging was a chance for me to get into the industry while sharing my enthusiasm of the sport and my own personality. The idea behind it was to pretty much ignore what the other F1 sites were doing with results and analysis, instead focusing on sharing amusing and interesting content. I just started sharing the posts on my Twitter page and it's grown into what it is today.
When did you get into F1 and motorsport? Was there a particular driver or race which got you hooked?
I saw my first F1 race in 1996, so I'd have been about seven years old. I saw an advert on TV for it and it looked interesting, so I watched it with my parents and we were all completely hooked from then on... apart from my poor sister who had to suffer for many, many Sundays afterwards!
Which drivers and and teams give you the most material – is there any particular 'gift that keeps on giving?'
That has to be Pastor Maldonado [the crash-prone Venezuelan driver> – I don't know what WTF1 would do without him really. Just when it seems like the novelty has worn off he does something else completely hilarious. Kimi Raikkonen is always good for a laugh or two as well.
The blog really came into its own once the drivers and teams became more active on social media. Since then, there's been loads of great content kicking around to blog about.
What do you do when you're not blogging – how do you unwind?
I've always been massively into video games. Not just racing games... but mainly racing games. It's always a laugh to try and live my failed dream of becoming a racing driver through the television set.
What other blogs do you read and follow regularly, and why?
It was actually two blogs that inspired me to start blogging in the first place. F1 Fanatic is a brilliant independent F1 blog that I've been reading for years now.
Then there's Geekologie which is a geek blog that shares viral videos, pictures and stories with a hilarious commentary alongside it. For a few months I wished there was an F1 or motorsport site that was done in this way…. so, then I decided to make one.
What are your big predictions for this season's F1 Championship?
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes seem pretty unbeatable at the moment and I think they'll grab the titles again.
That said, it's nice to see Ferrari making them work for it so here's hoping they can challenge more. Mercedes versus Ferrari would be a great thing for F1.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to make a name for themselves in the blogging game, motoring or otherwise?
Be original and be yourself. If I'd tried to create an Autosport replica, the blog just wouldn't have gone anywhere. I think people like it because it's different and it stands out against more traditional media. Put your own personality into it and blog about something you're passionate about.
I think the best piece of advice is to just go and do it, if you're serious about blogging then there's no excuse not to have your own blog. The internet is an incredible place where people can make something of themselves, and it's a huge platform giving you the potential to reach millions across the world. So make the most of it because you never know what it might lead to.
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