Official F1 Live Timing App 2013 reviewed

F1 review

2013 F1 Live Timing AppFormula One has, for the most part, been embarrassingly slow to embrace new technology.

High definition broadcasts arrived six years after NASCAR’s. Formula One Management’s relationship with YouTube goes no further than barking orders at them to take videos of F1 racing down to ensure the sport remain a secret from a generation of young fans.

The appearance of an official Live Timimg App a few years ago signalled a shudder of movement in F1′s glacially slow progress into the 21st century. Is the latest iteration a genuinely useful application of new technology – or just another shiny product on which to slap the F1 logo and an unrealistic price tag?

For those familiar with F1.com’s live timing page – still running on creaking, bug-riddled Java – the main timing page on the official app is a substantial improvement. Sectors times are given to three decimal places, each driver’s top speed in each sector is shown along with and – most usefully – live tyre information.

Flip between pages and you can see breakdowns of which tyres each driver has used during the session, instant ‘perfect lap’ calculations and more.

2013 F1 Live Timing AppThe 3D maps which show the positions of each car run more smoothly than before, with data updates being fed in between two and five seconds.

If you’re unable to watch a session live you have the option of re-playing them and pause, rewind and forward through them.

In every area the official app brings you a step closer to the level of detail the teams get on the pit wall. However quite a few of the pages present the same information in different ways, so that I found I relied almost exclusively on the main timing page when using it.

The latest version of the app also incorporates Twitter feeds and allows you to add your own. But although I find Twitter a very useful service during race weekends (and post hundreds of updates to it during sessions on F1 Fanatic Live) it’s hard to credit a paid app for including a service which is available for free.

With so much information available the bigger the screen you’ve got the more useful the app is. On an iPhone 5 I found the 3D view unusably small and constantly had to scroll up and down the timing screen. This app is much more at home on a tablet.

2013 F1 Live Timing AppThen there is the sticking point of the reliability of FOM’s services. There have already been several occasions this year when the public timing screens have not been available and the official app is not immune from the same glitches.

I found myself wondering who the app is aimed at. Armchair viewers can glean much of the same information in real-time from Twitter, multi-channel TV coverage and the existing free live timing page (which makes me wonder how much longer the latter will remain in existence).

It would be most useful for track-side spectators to stay abreast of the action they can’t see. But network availability and the cost of data will be a problem at many circuits – one that the late lamented FanVision service had cracked, as well as offering live audio and video, though for a considerably higher price.

If the thought crossed your mind of buying a one-off subscription for a race weekend visit, the disappointing news is the app is only available on a per-season basis. Android, Apple and Blackberry platforms are catered for but there is no version you can simply log into with a web browser.

Priced more competitively or offered with a more flexible payment system this slick and useful app would easily get four stars. As it is for most tech-literate fans this is a product that’s nice to have but one you can live without.

F1 Fanatic rating

Rating three out of five

The official F1 Live Timing App 2013 can be purchased through Google Play for Android, iTunes for Apple and BlackBerry World. The Android app is also available via Amazon in the USA:

Buy the official F1 Live Timing App 2013 (USA)

Official F1 Live Timing App 2013

Format: Android, Apple, Blackberry
Publisher: Soft Pauer
Published: March 2013
Price: ??23.99

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86 comments on Official F1 Live Timing App 2013 reviewed

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  1. rapidfire (@rapidfire) said on 31st March 2013, 10:56

    i got it for free :) overall a pretty good app

  2. sonia luff (@sonia54) said on 31st March 2013, 10:58

    I got it for free too:) and it is pretty good

    • SirCoolbeans (@sircoolbeans) said on 31st March 2013, 15:26

      Please don’t do that! I know this app is expensive, but as an app developer we do feel the consequences of people stealing it. Apps are incredibly cheap as it is and we have to sell very very large numbers to break even.

      Most of the time apps cost less than the price of a Mars Bar, but someone has probably worked for over a year to create it.

  3. I’ve paid for this app for the last 2 years, It’s great and I wouldn’t go without it. I can watch the practice sessions when Im at work and I use the live timing on my ipad when Im home. Definitely worth the money and highly recommended. Break the cost down over 20 races and it work out to be around $1.50 per race, Can’t go wrong with that

  4. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 31st March 2013, 11:01

    The thorn in Formula 1′s side has always been embracing new broadcasting technologies. I thought about buying this app when I was at the Australian GP this year bit saw the $32 price tag and couldn’t help but laugh.
    Sure, it takes money to develop the app etc etc ete but as Keith points out this is information that you can get off TV anyway.
    Formula 1 needs to overhaul it’s broadcast design, seriously.
    Stop fighting and start working WITH YouTube to create less of an “us against them” scenario where they’re treating their FOM footage like ancient revered artifacts.

    They really need to step into the 21st century, and sure this app is a good start, but I just cant justify the price for such a basic service.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 1st April 2013, 8:34

      I have an app from the England and Wales Cricket Board, which gives live scorecards for every English domestic and international cricket match, news and live Twitter feeds from selected matches.

      It was free, and there aren’t even any unnecessary full-screen adverts that leap out at you every day as a way of coercing you to pay for the same content, as we see far too often. There are just a couple of ads out of the way on the page.

      You don’t need to download a new app every year, either. Now, if the cricketing world can send ball-by-ball data from tens of matches worldwide to my phone simultaneously, without breaking the bank, then why can’t F1? It’s crazy.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 1st April 2013, 9:54

      @nackavich

      I’m inclined to buy the app but that price… OMG!

      F1 really needs a New Media Officer. F1 meaning FOM here, because some teams have very good You Tube channels and interactive Websites.

      • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 3rd April 2013, 13:10

        @jcost @nackavich FOM have kind of got a New Media Officer in the shape of Sky… if you have a Sky subscription AND an iPad at least anyway… the “Sky Sports for iPad” app contains a lot of the features of this paid application with the benefit of being able to watch from all the different camera options that you get on the Red Button on your TV. Timing Screen, Driver Tracker and Twitter feeds are all in there. I’ve also noticed that the feed to the iPad app is a good 10-15 seconds (maybe more) ahead of the live feed on TV. That said you do need an iPad, Sky Subscription and an internet connection capable of not buffering every 30 seconds but it works pretty well.

        I had to take my car to an MOT at the same time qualifying was on for a race last year… I was able to watch the qualifying on the iPad via bluetooth tethering to my iPhone using my entire months 3G data allowance without any issue.

        This for free is better than the £23.99 app in my view

  5. sdtaylor91 (@sdtaylor91) said on 31st March 2013, 11:04

    A few weeks ago when I saw the price of this app, I was gobsmacked …. £23.99 for an app with a longevity of 19 races, for me that is a million miles beyond ridiculous

    When i watch f1 I watch the session itself on the tv and use twitter and live timing on my laptop to follow in more detail. afterwards i use the fia f1 website to look at the stats, ie. long run pace, top speeds. I feel like I get a very detailed sense of whats going on, and the extra insight doesnt cost anything …

    … With this in mind I dont understand how the people who made this app feel they have found a gap in the market that makes them think they can charge this much.

  6. muz (@murray1964) said on 31st March 2013, 11:12

    I bought it last year even thought it was expensive. Unfortunately when I upgraded my tablet software it got deleted. I had a copy of my receipt from the Google Play store who were helpful but told me I would have to contact Soft Pauer to be able to download it again, After many unanswered emails to them I gave up. The app seems ok but customer service is non existent, buy at your own risk.

  7. Metallion (@metallion) said on 31st March 2013, 11:18

    It sounds like a nice app to have, but not something I’d be willing to pay a few euros for. At 30€ it’s not worth the price. Especially considering I can get an online subscription to watch all F1 sessions live for 68€ for the whole season.

  8. tandrews (@tomand95) said on 31st March 2013, 11:29

    I got this app for the Australian Grand Prix when i was sitting in the stands. I found it great for timing because the big screens at the circuit don’t show the times of the cars in a qualifying or practice session and even then the overall positions are hard to see on the big screens due to there small size.
    The car tracker is pretty accurate as well as it helps see if cars are have good gap for a run(came in handy in Q1 in the rain before it was qualy was cancelled) or if a car can make it back over the line in time for a final flying lap.
    I also used a bit when watching the Malaysian GP to check tyre compounds and it’s good with showing sector times and gaps between cars in the races.
    Even though it’s quite expensive i think it’s pretty good value for a full year and i would recommend it to anyone who is going to a grand prix this year who wants more information than what they can see on track and circuit commentary.

  9. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 31st March 2013, 11:33

    I have this app on my android tablet and use it religiously at qualy and race sessions on the tv and I find it adds to the experience.

    My wife just shakes her head at me when I have my tablet with the timing app, my laptop with F1Fanatic and twitter streaming and watching the F1 on the TV.

    One thing to note that the F1 app has that the timing doesn’t, and thats the location of where the cars are on the track in relation to everyone else.

  10. andy.price (@andy-price) said on 31st March 2013, 12:07

    I loved the very basic live timing app when it was free. Useful but not essential. I would not pay for this app – it is way too expensive and as someone has pointed out only works for a year or season. The F1 live timing app is old, clunky and the java problems are a pain. When it works its good but surely in this day and age it could be better. I, too, suspect that it will not be long before we have to pay for it. I have followed F1 for all of my 56 years (well for 46 years anyway) but recently it is getting to be so expensive that actually attending races is not a realistic option. I am sure that reducing the amout CVC take out of the sport therefore reducing costs would allow more countries to stage a race (France, Portugal?) and allow more people to attend – and there would be more revenue – economics?

  11. Years ago when the app first came out I spent the money and bought it.

    I was expecting it to be able to show the circuit map and the driver position live but found after getting it that I had to download that data after each event.

    I was so annoyed at that fact, as it was really the only reason I got the app. I already do what others here have said – watch the race live with my laptop next to me with Twitter and the Formula1.com live timing open.

    Which brings me to another thing that is behind the times – the live timing always gets completely screwed when someone pits. It seems to take more then a lap for the driver positions to correct themselves (surely it should correct as each driver passes the start/finish line?)

    Anyway…

    Can someone confirm that this years version actually shows driver position live? May be worth considering if that is the case.

    • GT_Racer said on 31st March 2013, 12:30

      I was expecting it to be able to show the circuit map and the driver position live but found after getting it that I had to download that data after each event.

      Can someone confirm that this years version actually shows driver position live?

      The driver tracking data has always been available live since the app was 1st launched.

      The timing/tracking data was also available as a download in order to make the app useable for non-live broadcasts.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st March 2013, 20:11

      @Travis

      Can someone confirm that this year’s version actually shows driver position live?

      Yes it does.

  12. GT_Racer said on 31st March 2013, 12:25

    High definition broadcasts arrived six years after NASCAR’s.

    Reason been that there hardly any F1 broadcasters capable of taking a HD broadcast.

    FOM had HD capable cameras in 2006 & we did look at HD for 2007 but at that time we found that only 3 broadcasters would have taken the HD feed & concluded that it wasn’t really worth the extra investment at that time.

    It was easier for Nascar to go HD since the broadcaster (Fox at the time) also produces the TV feed, So when Fox launched there HD channel they decided to broadcast Nascar in HD as a way of promoting it. Same with Indycar, It went HD when the TV broadcaster (ESPN at the time) wanted it in HD.

    Unlike those series FOM are producing a world-feed so have to produce something suitable for all broadcasters, They can’t customize the feed for any individual broadcasters, They do what the majority are able to do at the time.

    A current example is 3D, Sky have been pushing very hard for 3D & they want every race in 3D (Even though it doesn’t really work all that well for F1), However since Sky (UK, Italy & Germany) are the only F1 broadcasters who could even carry a 3D broadcast there’s currently no chance of FOM even considering it. If you had a situation where a fair chunk of world-wide broadcasters could carry a 3D broadcast then they would start to consider it more seriously.

    Side-point with widescreen. Many criticized F1 for waiting until 2007 to go widescreen, That wasn’t actually down to FOM as such. Don’t forget that until 2007 the world-feed was produced by local broadcasters & several of them didn’t produce a widescreen feed & we didn’t want the broadcast constantly switching back & forth between 16:9 & 4:3 each race depending on what the local broadcasters were doing.
    When FOM took over most of the TV broadcast’s in 2007 we were able to take the world-feed widescreen.

    Regarding the app, All FOM do is provide the data to Soft Pauer, Its them who produces, maintains & runs the app. They also use a similar app for V8 Supercars down in Australia & I gather it suffers from the same reliability problems & other glitches as this F1 app does.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 31st March 2013, 18:42

      Unlike those series FOM are producing a world-feed so have to produce something suitable for all broadcasters, They can’t customize the feed for any individual broadcasters, They do what the majority are able to do at the time.

      That’s what bothers me because the broadcast ends up being a compromise if you’re not part of that “majority”, just to give you an example, here in Mexico we get an HD feed sure, but is not a native NTSC (60i) signal and when you get quick camera movements it’s all crappy and blurry also, the graphics are framed for 4:3 TVs so in free practice and qualy all the drivers’ names are on the way and it’s very distracting.
      Anyway, I have the F1 app and the main reason is that I can watch all the sessions timings at any time I want, so no more waking up at 6 am on Sundays!

      • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 31st March 2013, 19:08

        The graphics being framed for 4:3 TVs even in the HD/Widescreen version of the broadcast is due to your local broadcaster selecting that feed. There are two world feeds, one that is 4:3 & one that is 16:9, here in the USA we get the 16:9 feed because that’s what NBCSN (and SPEED in years past) uses.

        • GT_Racer said on 31st March 2013, 20:41

          FOM send out 3 versions of the world-feed as far as graphics go.
          There’s a version with graphics in 4:3 safe zones,
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrIZgAv2XBg

          A pure 16:9 feed with graphics outside the 4:3 safe zones:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqYEvlY16b4

          And the 3rd clear feed with no graphics at all for use in post race analysis & highlights etc…

          There’s also the extra feeds they put out such as the OnBoard, Pit Lane, Timing & Ddiver Tracker.

          • John Bergqvist (@) said on 24th May 2013, 13:24

            They also produce a version with graphics but without team radio, as i’ve noticed that Sky use when they’re on their “Pit Radio” live bits, which they (Sky) must be-able to switch to seamlessly.

        • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 31st March 2013, 23:00

          @fisha695 Well you’re right in my case it’s probably Fox Sport’s fault that we get this problems, and yes last year I had the chance to watch a couple of races in the US and the picture quality was much much better than what I get, not sure I like that many adverts though :)

  13. Jarv F150 (@jarvf150) said on 31st March 2013, 12:29

    I bought the 2011 version and was disappointed as it never ran properly on my underpowered old phone.

    I don’t think I could be moved to pay £23 again especially as half the races are highlights only so there is no point in live timing or even a historical session.

    However for those wanting something better than the F1 web-site living timing I suggest searching Google for “F1LT 2.0.0″ – a free PC application which is pretty darn good.

  14. mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 31st March 2013, 12:37

    if you have android you can download the paid version for free if you dont want to spend $30 or whatever it is in your country. i do realize that you are not supporting the developers but why must we pay for a service that is free if you are in front of a pc but if you our out and dont have a pc a mobile is your only option.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st March 2013, 20:15

      @mrjl93

      why must we pay for a service that is free if you are in front of a pc

      As mentioned in the article, much of the functionality in the app goes beyond what you can get via the fee desktop timing service on F1.com.

    • Kazihno (@kazinho) said on 1st April 2013, 11:52

      I admit to downloading the apk in the back end of 2010 for trial purposes. I wasn’t prepared to pay that price for something that was untried, untested and even unreviewed. But I have happily paid for the app from the beginning of the 2011 season.

      I used to sit and watch with the f1.com timing. Not any more, I haven’t logged on to F1 live timing in 2 years. I cannot do without this app: I don’t watch ANY F1 session without it.

      Main differences between the f1.com site and this app that make the app a worthwhile purchase are:

      Track map. Might be a bit gimmicky, but when you can see that a driver setting purple sectors doesn’t set a fastest lap because there was traffic, you can make proper analyses of practice and qualifying. Likewise in a race when a gap suddenly shrinks because of traffic. It isn’t apparent with data only. It shows data for every car that you can interpret yourself. The world feed misses quite a lot.

      Tyre data. You can see how many laps the set of tyres have completed. Watching long run stints in Australia P2 with this app, I was able to pick the finishing order of the race after 10 laps.

      Selection of data. When looking at sector data, you can toggle between most recent time set and best time set. So when your driver sets a green sector, you can check to see how it compares to everyone else’s best sector time. Very valuable in qualifying.

      Download session data. When I watch the replay on Monday night (or if you have to record the race and watch it back later) I can download the race data and watch the race with the timing as though it were live. Also works for ALL sessions throughout the season. In fact, if I decide I want to watch a race from 2011, I can still download data from that race and use the live timing and track map data while I watch.

      The price for the app does decrease as the season progresses, and in the past I am sure they have had pricing for individual races and even free sessions (eg. P1 or P2) where data was free as an evaluation tool for prospective purchasers.

      Yes it is expensive, but per race it isn’t exorbitant. Maybe I am lucky that where I watch the races is on free-to-air tv (for now) and I don’t have to pay for the privilege of watching F1. If I had to pay for Sky AND the app, I might have a different opinion. But for me this is a must have if you follow every session and are keen understand races all the way down the field.

  15. I’ve had this app for the past three or four years and actually find it indispensable.

    For £2 a race I think its worth the money. I find races increasingly hard to follow and this gives you a bit more insight into strategy and relative pace of the drivers during the stints.

    I did not buy it for Australia but seeing how that race panned out made me get it for Malaysia. The latest version is also a big improvement with twitter integration.

    I don’t particularly understand most of the negative comments on here. No point in getting the free version, get the paid one. Recommended.

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