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

  1. Puzano (@puzano) said on 31st March 2013, 21:52

    Every race i watch with my father and sister, 3 tablets are on the table with this app. I don’t want a big clunky laptop on the table, but we still want to follow the gaps between drivers in a race.
    Must have app imho …

  2. Ben Thomas (@madaboutgp) said on 31st March 2013, 22:10

    It’s incredible how behind the times F1 is considering how advanced the sport is supposed to be. I’d like to see something similar to how the NFL show their games over the internet. They have a service called Game Pass which enables you to watch the games live online and I believe up to four at once. For F1, this could mean you watch the main feed, follow a few drivers and have the pit lane feed all on one screen. During the off season, you could also go back and watch highlights of a session/race or even the whole session in full. This would mean the FOM would have to supply some form of commentary. If this were offered at a competitive price, I would be more than happy to purchase this as F1 slowly moves away from free-to-air television. Thoughts?

    • Mike-F1 said on 31st March 2013, 23:18

      For FOM to provide an internet service would cause all sorts of problems with the contracts, the tv broadcasters have clauses giving them exclusive rights to f1 video distribution in each country.

      I used to work for the BBC & did a few races in the TV truck working the red button & online stuff & when we did the tv contract in 2008 we had such a clause & the sky/bbc share deal also has that clause, there sharing exclusive rights in the uk.

  3. falken (@falken) said on 31st March 2013, 22:19

    I don’t see anything to tear me away from just having http://f1.narezka.ru/?lang=eng open.
    Much better than the official web application.

  4. I’m a bit buried in comments so I doubt this’ll get much notice, but I’m surprised nobody seems to have mentioned the wonderful F1LT project (http://f1lt.pl/).

    It’s free, available on multiple platforms, and has a huge amount of data available between tracking laptimes, positions, commentary, track/air temps, pit times. The only thing I couldn’t manage to find last time was which tires a driver was on at a given time.

  5. Andrew VanderLei (@andrewvanderlei) said on 1st April 2013, 4:05

    You can get it for free off any torrent site

  6. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 1st April 2013, 6:15

    The price of the app is way too expensive and out of reality – most apps and games in Google play store are around 1€ with some new game titles costing 5-10€.
    If they want to sell this app they should sell it unter 10€.
    Another stupid thing is the expiration at the end of the season. Why should I buy every year the same app again and again. Why can they just automatically update it just like any other app. Or at least to have to pay a smaller amount for the next years update and not the whole price again.
    And last , if I buy the app in the first race of the season or in the last they charge me the same price . Shouldn’t be more fair that the price devaluates as the season progress?
    Luckily for the magority of the people there are some very good free apps out there.

  7. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 1st April 2013, 6:31

    My suggestion would be :
    1) remove this stupid demo(free) app from the market which is useless
    2) Have one basic timing app at minimum price(1-3€) or free ( like it was some years ago)
    3) Have the premium app with the tracker and all the extra stuff at a higher price but for less than 10€.

  8. Stewart (@douglst) said on 1st April 2013, 7:09

    In my opinion this is a must have app I would be lost without it on race weekends.

    Having sector times and tyre info for Q1 and Q2 I find I am way ahead of what is going with the commentators particularly when the leaders try to get through on a prime run and the midfield switch to options, plus having info sector info for Q3 again means you can see who is doing what ahead of the tv.

    I often use it for FP 1 and 2 while at work and also for FP 3 to get a feel for qualy.

    For the race in the Pirelli era I just find it so much easier to follow what is going on and again with the added benefit of being able to follow your favourite driver if they are not being shown on tv.

    The replay function is excellent and if I have ever missed a session and have it taped can watch it as live again.

    I have had limited bugs and glitches certainly nothing that has not corrected itself quite quickly and again this seems to be linked to the official feed so it is not an app problem.

    I know everyone’s financial situation is different but with 5 sessions a weekend and 19 races that’s about 25p a session, for me that is a no brainier, happy to sacrifice 10 coffees or 5 trips to McDonalds a year for this app.

  9. venom (@venom) said on 1st April 2013, 7:23

    f1 should be broadcasted over the internet…maybe even youtube..I dont live in Europe, and we dont get f1 practice coverage where I live, only the quali and race is broadcasted(and i dont get any f1 gossip like the pre/post race stuff)..it would be wonderful if we had youtube broadcasts, or some sort of official f1 channel on the internet.that would be just great. I am pretty sure the indian IPL Cricket tournament used to get broadcasted on youtube.

  10. Bruno (@brunes) said on 1st April 2013, 8:14

    I use an App called F1Live24.
    Shows distance between cars, positions, lap times, and it’s FREE!

    Not bad att all for a free app

    • Bruno (@brunes) said on 1st April 2013, 8:16

      *on my iPhone, forgot to mention.

      Not sure whether it is available for Android. (but you can install the “real app” for free anyway)

  11. John Anthony (@thejohnx) said on 1st April 2013, 8:17

    Worth noting that in November/December each year, the developers usually offer next season’s subscriptions with a 25% discount.

  12. Jubameister said on 1st April 2013, 8:38

    For a while now i’ve been waiting for some kind of live timing for windows phone. If they offered this app for WP i would buy it. If there was some unofficial live timing app i would use that. So lap top is the only option for me.

  13. knoxploration said on 1st April 2013, 15:35

    I paid for this app last year, and spent all year regretting that decision. It was absolutely riddled with bugs, many of which weren’t fixed after being reported to the developer. It was, essentially, completely impossible to get through a full race without two crashes, and after each crash you have to adjust the time slip all over again to get it to match what’s on the TV. The information shown is hopelessly inaccurate — in particular, the track map is nonsensical, often showing things like cars driving backwards on track. Five seconds is an eternity in an F1 race; an app which updates so seldom and simply guesses what is happening in between (as this does) is effectively showing you a fictitious event. And frankly, I compared it side-by-side with the java app on F1.com and found the latter far more effective and accurate. The official app would frequently stop updating for 30-90 seconds, then suddenly playback at accelerated speed for the next 15-30 seconds until it had caught up. Occasionally, it wouldn’t work at all. There were no such problems on the F1.com applet; these problems were specific to the app.

    The app’s commentary ran as a painfully slow and uncontrollable scroll that made it impossible to keep up to date on unless you spent all your time staring at your phone or tablet, and ignoring the actual race. And then there’s the fact that on Android, the developer uses iOS paradigms that are unintuitive and run counter to everything else on the OS, and they point-blank refuse to even consider abiding by Android paradigms instead, or even giving users the choice of paradigm via a settings option.

    And it has to be said that all of this is regarding the app being run on what, at the time, was about the fastest Android tablet and phone available, and on a totally untaxed, high-speed broadband connection. In other words the app, and not the hardware and connectivity, was at fault.

    Frankly, as somebody who did so, if you pay for this you’re daft.

  14. wigster (@wigster) said on 1st April 2013, 17:51

    I have the app. I find it’s priceless in helping me to follow the action, particularly for the races which are only available live on Sky. I mainly flick between the circuit map screen and the live timing screen during sessions. For races that the BBC show live I find it handy to keep track of the exact gaps between cars, especially the ones that the director isn’t focusing on and may be on alternate strategies in the midfield, in real time. During the races that the BBC don’t show live, I find the app invaluable as radio commentary just can’t give the level of information about times and positioning that’s available from the app, and I find it quite interesting to watch as cars pull away and close up to one another during the race.

    The only criticism I have about the app is its price. £23.99 is far too expensive for what it is, if it was £10 I still think it would be expensive but would tempt a lot more people to buy it, as it does look really slick and generally works well on my android phone. If all the races where live on the BBC I simply wouldn’t entertain spending £24 on the app. However, last year when the first races came round and I couldn’t watch them I decided it would be worth a punt to try and make getting up at 2am to listen to a free practice session on the radio more bearable, and it was.

    Basically I think the app is invaluable to anyone who wants to have an extra layer of information about what’s going on on track to help them follow the various sessions, however I can understand why people may decided that £24 is too expensive for a phone app that’s only any use for nineteen weekends.

  15. Richard (@ritdaw) said on 2nd April 2013, 9:24

    Great free app available for Android here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.procoit.f1lt

    Has adverts but can be removed for a £1.20. Developer works hard during all F1 sessions to get rid of bugs and it is coming along nicely.

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