FanVision announces F1 exit

2013 F1 season

FanVision G3FanVision will not continue in Formula One in 2013 after failing to agree terms with Formula One Management.

A FanVision representative told F1 Fanatic: “We have, for some months, been trying to find the basis of an agreement between FanVision and FOM in order to continue providing the service in F1 in 2013.

“Unfortunately it is now clear that we are not going to be able to agree terms with FOM and very reluctantly we have to confirm that we won’t be in F1 in 2013. It’s a big blow for us.”

FanVision, formerly Kangaroo F1, allows spectators to purchase handheld devices through which they can watch video footage of race sessions and follow live timing and commentary during race weekends. They also supply their sets for NASCAR, NFL and some golf events.

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63 comments on FanVision announces F1 exit

  1. Mark (@marlarkey) said on 10th January 2013, 15:06

    Unfortunate… I found the service pretty good both times I used it… But I’m not convinced the business model makes sense any more.

    I’m going to the Spanish GP this year but I wasn’t planning to get a Fanvision device as I can get most of the info I’d want on mobile app, tablet, etc.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 10th January 2013, 15:23

      @malarkey But that would be very expensive for tourists who are on roaming. All good and well if you’re at your home race, but this will hurt a lot if you’re abroad. This especially hurts those going to non-English speaking countries who greatly benefit from UK commentary.

      • mole (@mole) said on 10th January 2013, 16:16

        Surely it’s time that Bernie insists we have WiFi at each circuit – relatively small cost (certainly compared to all the other insistences he has to make the circuits fit for corporates).

        • Nick.UK (@) said on 10th January 2013, 18:48

          Thousands of people all using the same wifi? I’m not sure how smoothly that would work. Nice idea though.

          • mole (@mole) said on 11th January 2013, 22:25

            It worked during the Olympics

          • Yeah, it’s a bit of a challenge, but by no means impossible. I’ve worked on a couple of wireless projects of this scale, and its just all about preparation, which is easy for an F1-type event.

        • The point is, if it ain’t broke why fix it? FanVision has been providing a fantastic experience for race fans locally and globally. Why not help them continue rather than screw them out of business? Surely they were not any drain on Bernie’s millions?

      • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 10th January 2013, 17:10

        Yes that is something to be careful about. It can run up large data bills.

        However for EU travellers within EU this isn’t so expensive any more since last years new regulations. On my package I can now use my home data allowance when roaming across Europe for just £3 for each day I use it abroad – I think most UK networks offer this kind of package now.

        Obviously other people would need to check with their phone provider.

        The Wifi suggestion is a good one. I think they had a wifi network at the London Olympics site.

        • For me, they were always useful. I’m a non-European F1 fan (from Brazil actually) and I used to get one of them when I went to a race (not counting the Brazilian GP that is). I know people are saying that they now use they own devices and apps, but in my case, the data bill would be ridiculous if I used the international roaming rates, so I can honestly say that I will miss FanVision.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th January 2013, 19:07

          I agree with that about the newest EU-regulation on DATA (and call) roaming. I noticed that calling a phone in NL is now cheaper doing it on roaming than from my Czech home network (one of the more expensive EU countries for mobile it seems)!

    • Yep, iPad is an alternative but does not have BBC commentary and also global roaming costs an arm and leg!! BRING BACK FANVISION PLEASE !!!!

  2. accyroy (@accyroy) said on 10th January 2013, 15:19

    This is really not good at all for the fans!! I love my fanvision, without it you lose out on so much info and struggle to know what is going on. Apps/Mobile data are no good, there is never enough coverage to pull the data in on raceday. Fanvision was a lifesaver!

    • bertie (@bertie) said on 10th January 2013, 17:59

      Wifi just needs to be added to circuits. It is very easy and cheap to do.

      • MJRoberts55 (@mjroberts55) said on 10th January 2013, 18:49

        You’d think it would be fairly expensive given the size of a modern day F1 circuit. Also, FOM would never pay, so an additional cost for circuits.

      • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 10th January 2013, 21:30

        Aren’t the circuits already equipped with huge bandwidth anyway ? The teams must have huge data networking requirements. Adding wifi for spectators couldn’t be that difficult.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 11th January 2013, 1:31

          @marlarkey Not all of them even provide free wifi at the media centre, never mind the rest of the track.

          • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 11th January 2013, 10:52

            @journeyer I’m talking about what they could do not what they have done in the past.

            Providing wifi access points around the circuit is not the issue… that bit is easy to install. The issue is providing sufficient bandwidth to the outside world and that will already be provided for to meet the requirements of all the teams, media, FIA, etc. So the difficult bit is covered, all it needs is for the circuits to do the easy bit.

            It can be done and in fact it was done at the London Olympics for 250k spectators covering a similar area as a GP circuit. All it needs is the will to do it.

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 11th January 2013, 13:35

            @marlarkey A good point was brought up when I proposed this elsewhere. Can FOM set the system up in such a way that people at the circuit can get this information… while keeping it away from everyone else? Fanvision worked on UHF (thus keeping the Internet people away); this may be trickier to implement if they use the Internet/wifi…

      • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 11th January 2013, 13:52

        You couldn’t even get good Wifi in the Paddock Club at Silverstone this year…

    • Heath (@heathcollinson) said on 11th January 2013, 5:28

      Yep, not happy at all … FanVision was fantastic for F1 fans trackside, and for me was a must have to really follow the action rather than mindlessly watch cars drive past. I really hope they can sort something out because without it id be less likely to attend live grands prix and just watch it on TV

  3. Hope that plan works. But signal has never been good at any races I’ve been at, so data is rarely available to be reliable, my battery would run out and I can’t afford to pay for the amount of data that would be needed to get the info. I much prefer a dedicated system that works, lasts and has a fixed cost!

  4. Aaron (@tripperhead) said on 10th January 2013, 15:36

    That sucks. I chose not to get one at Suzuka in 2011 and suffered for it. Picked one up in Korea for the next race, and it was invaluable, especially for those long, and sometimes boring, practice sessions. BBC Five Live and every on-board camera made it worthwhile, especially when something was happening on the other side of the track. (And yes, I agree @journeyer, some races are too expensive/too difficult to worry with roaming on the phone.)

  5. Hairs (@hairs) said on 10th January 2013, 15:51

    Is Bernie still wary of techno wizardry after the failed f1 digital circus? Or just greedy for inflated fees which the world can’t meet these days? Who knows. Like many other perplexing decisions, fans will have to assume the powers that be have some twisted logic that they’re happy with, and sod the plebs in the stands.

    The most telling thing that this was a great service however is that every team had at least one fanvision unit strapped to the pitwall, despite the FOM TV feed on their screens. Ditto every pitlane reporter.

    Maybe a case of “we’re doing it badly, so nobody else should do it well” by FOM? Wouldn’t be the first time…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th January 2013, 19:08

      My guess is @hairs, its a simple case of the FOM fees being to high to make it a business deal worthwhile for both sides.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th January 2013, 23:04

      Why do you automatically assume that FOM is the blame for FanVision leaving Formula 1? No details of the contract between the two parties are offered, so for all you know, FanVision made a series of increasingly-unrealistic demands.

      But, no – because FanVision offers a serive to fans, and because that service will not be available in 2013, FOM must be to blame.

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 10th January 2013, 23:58

        My comment is based on FOM’s known behaviour re: fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, and income control.

        But I suppose you’re free to assume that tiny little fanvision, who started their business in f1, were trying to bully the world’s toughest negotiator, who regularly screws over governments, into an unrealistic contract if you like…

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2013, 4:19

          I didn’t say that. I said that you can’t assume FOM were to blame simply because a contract fell apart. For instance, FanVision could have been in negotiations with FOM for months, and asked FOM to give them a definitive answer one way or another – but FOM had to say no, because the Concorde Agreement has not been signed, and so coming to an arrangement with FanVision could complicate things. Or Rolex, the sport’s new timing provider, could have wanted a cut of FanVision’s revenues that FanVision were unwilling to share, and so they asked FOM to talk Rolex around, only for Rolex to refuse to budge.

          Without knowing the circumstances of the deal breaking down, you’re in no position to assume one party is more responsible than the other. You point to FOM’s actions when it comes to fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, and income control as evidence of their wrongdoing, except that FanVision isn’t involved in fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, or income control, so how can FOM’s action in the past be representative of the way they dealt with an entirely different supplier?

          • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 11th January 2013, 10:24

            I said that you can’t assume FOM were to blame simply because a contract fell apart.

            While I agree, I think it’s a fair bet that FOM wanted a lot more money from them. This is simply going on past experience. FOM always want to increase prices, and would rather loose something than forgo their increase.

            There may be another reason, but IMHO this is the most probable.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 11th January 2013, 17:19

            It’s representative if the way FOM has approached every supplier in its history is the same; ie demand for unrealistic amounts of money.

        • FanVision is one of the best innovations to F! fans, especially to people that watch at tracks in other countries, the BBC commentary is essential to provide translated coverage per se. Whatever the reason for the breakdown, FOM would be smart to sort out the relationship because they will loose my support, and that of others I am sure, if they do not. A bit of a David/Goliath

  6. MattB (@mattb) said on 10th January 2013, 15:55

    Such a shame to see this invaluable service being denied to fans. I have been to Grands Prix with and without the fanvision. I made the mistake of thinking that I could get updates at Silverstone on my phone – but the sheer number of people there on my network meant that getting 3G signal was nearly impossible. At least at Silverstone, you can get 5live radio coverage, which is not possible in other countries. The German equivalent radio station was ok (if you speak German) but half way through a practice session, they would start playing music! 5Live was always there to listen to on the FanVision in any country!

  7. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 10th January 2013, 16:02

    It’s a shame. Everyone in the pitlane used it, mostly journalists, and it will be surely missed. But I wonder whether FOM are thinking of making profit of their own by replacing FanVision with their own service? Anyway, It’ll be difficult to better FanVision’s service.

  8. Steve C said on 10th January 2013, 17:23

    Oh this sucks. My co-worker and I rented one for the USGP and loved it. The screen resolution was good and the sound was good and the features were good. Too bad for us, I guess.

  9. George (@george) said on 10th January 2013, 18:00

    FOM screwing over ticket holders again? I wonder if they’re really this dim or they have another plan for a similar service.

  10. supernicebob (@supernicebob) said on 10th January 2013, 18:01

    That’s a blow for race going fans in my book. Having attended my first race for several years at Spa in 2010 I could see lots of people using them, and would try and peer over people’s shoulders to see what was going on when there was no track action in front of us. For subsequent trips to Monza and Montreal in 2011 and 2012 respectively they were a must have, though it did help splitting the cost four ways with my friends. It was worth it to have access to commentary alone, and it certainly helped to follow the action and occupy time whilst nothing was happening on track.

    Yes, if Wi-Fi becomes more prevalent at circuits then they would eventually become outmoded, but I can’t see that happening for a few more years yet. Delivering a reliable and fast enough service for 100,000 fans cannot be too easy/cheap and I suspect that Bernie will say it’s up to the circuits themselves to provide such a service. With the amount he charges them to host a race in the first place they’d probably be looking to keep extra costs down wherever they can.

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 10th January 2013, 21:33

      They did it at the London Olympics… 250k spectators spread across a site similar in size to a GP circuit.

      Had a reliable rock solid signal the entire duration.

  11. BenH (@benh) said on 10th January 2013, 18:25

    Ridiculous decision from FOM there. Going to the Italian GP and got GA tickets based on the fact that I could wander round and use the Fanvision. Its just typical of the archaic business model of Bernie to get rid of something interactive such as this. Its a wonder it got going in the first place to be honest though. The sooner he gets put in jail, the sooner we can get a forward thinker in the job who will embrace modern technology.

  12. codesurge (@codesurge) said on 10th January 2013, 18:29

    Wow, that’s a shame. I found the onboard channels and BBC radio feed to be an invaluable part of every GP where I’ve been able to rent it.

    Wonder what happens to the fans who’ve already purchased the actual device in hopes of using it at future F1 races. Reckon they’d be able to return it for a refund? Or are they SOL?

    • Good point, I know Fanvision were pushing people to buy these and if you are lucky enough to be able to go to multiple races made sense to buy outright and then just subscribe for the races you were attending. I doubt they will allow people to return them.

  13. Steve Mason said on 10th January 2013, 18:43

    Gutted!

    Used it at Spa this year and thought was fantastic, especially as posted to me in UK before going. Going to Italy this year and that has scuppered my viewing plans….I’m on a PAYG with Tesco (O2) & the tariff is too much to follow by phone e.g. timings and stream audio (5 live) etc

    Is there a replacement by another provider as if not I don’t get FOM. We the fans pay a lot to follow the sport and its only us that will be disadvantaged and they will lose revenue with no replacement?

    :(

    Steve

  14. John Bergqvist (@) said on 10th January 2013, 19:09

    Surely a bit of an over-reaction right now, unless/until it’s confirmed that there definitely WON’T be a replacement? FOM might start producing units in-house or use another supplier, you never know?

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