One of the unfortunate consequences of living in the age of the internet, is that literally anybody can create a website and claim to be an expert on a subject. As a result, F1 sites with article after article written by people who have never even attended a race, litter the internet. Their content containing nothing more than plagiarised and regurgitated information the ‘writer’ has taken from more authoritative sources. In true Chinese-whispers style, you end up with reports which are several generations removed from the original source, and bear little if any resemblance to real life factual reporting. If you’re a fan, relying on these sources for your F1 knowledge, then you’re at risk of being misled by people whose goal is not to inform people, but rather for the self-aggrandisement of the author. Forming an opinion based on things you’ve read on the internet, then, is a dangerous business, for there are as many armchair experts out there as there are stars in the sky.
The upshot of all of this is that readers become suspicious of everything they read, including material which comes from genuine sources. This, I think, is why Benson comes in for such a raw deal – he’s bombarded by armchair experts who read something somewhere that disagreed with what Benson is saying, and lack the requisite skills to understand the difference between proper journalism and creatively written fiction.
This is why there are very very few sources I would ever rely upon for genuine F1 news and insights. Autosport is probably the best, and if you don’t have one already you should get a subscription to Autosport +, because then you’ll see the power of proper journalism and get an insight that you’ll never see on 99% of ‘F1 sites’ out there. But even reading these excellent, insightful articles, I would never fool myself into thinking that I had some kind of deep understanding as a result – at best I’d simply be repeating what I’d read, which is no better than those I criticise. An insightful article written by a decent journalist will, even a very long one, be comprised of little more than snippets of the sum of the information which went into its creation. When you see a well written article which talks at length about elements of Concorde for instance, you are seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the agreement contains. The journalist will have gone through a long process of research, whittling down a huge body of information, sorting out what’s relevant and what’s not, but all the time assimilating the information they are discarding. The journalist then, through the process of writing a piece, will gain far more knowledge and understanding of the sport than the article itself could ever hope to convey to the reader. And that is why a fan, even one who reads almost everything there is to read on the subject of F1, will never be quite as well informed as the journalists who write the pieces the fan reads.