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. marcoduf (@marcoduf) said on 2nd April 2013, 12:05

    Something I’d like to point out – I wrote to the people in charge of the app with several questions (can I buy the app and have it on both my tablet and my smartphone, am I going to be charged the full amount if I get it halfway through the season, etc) and I got an immediate and very clear response. That, above the quality of the app itself, was already an argument for them.

  2. drmouse (@drmouse) said on 2nd April 2013, 16:07

    I have been unable to justify the expense of this app, especially considering it is valid only for one season at a time. A £30 charge for the app (and data, it’s useless without the data) for life I would probably have paid.

    I have used a variety of timing apps throughout the years, including the f1.com java nastiness, a text based Linux program live-f1, and a few Android apps. I can’t stand watching the race live without timing. With this in mind, I search for sources every year, and this year have found “Unofficial Live F1 Timing” by ProCo Apps (on Android) to be one of the best for both my tablet and my phone (for if I’m not at home).

    I have to say I am considering the Official version this year. It does look fantastic. I am yet to be convinced that it is worth it over the apps I’m currently using, though…

  3. Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 3rd April 2013, 15:47

    The pinnacle of motorsports and the tortoise of broadcasting. What do they spend all their money on? They want to expand “the show” but they still want it to be secretive at the same time. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    The app is a good idea and I was considering it until I saw the price. It is quite a steep price considering it is only for this year. If it was that price for a number of seasons, I would consider it. I wouldn’t want to pay more than $10 CAD. $30 is way too much IMO, as many others have said.

  4. Armunn said on 4th April 2013, 2:09

    If this app was cheaper then I would probably buy it, I don’t have access to the practice sessions on TV so often have to ‘watch’ those sessions though live timing originally through the website but now using the more superior F1LT android app.

    The biggest issue with this app though is that you have to buy it every year and they keep putting up the price each year. Sure paying $36 once is a hit to get a service better than live timing on the website, but having to pay that amount every year is a ripoff on the part of Soft Pauer. The only reason I can see that they charge so much is maybe FOM charge them for the feed and they need to recoup those costs. If so then, why not have an initial purchase then maybe a much much lower annual fee. They would get more people using the service. Or combine it with the MotoGP app (also made by Soft Pauer) then I would see the $36 worthwhile. Right now though, F1LT provides all the info I need when watching TV, and at a glance allows me to keep track of the timing when I’m out and about on a Friday or Saturday night

  5. F1antics (@f1antics) said on 23rd October 2013, 19:54

    I bought the app for the first time this year. It was the first full season that I had a decent sized smartphone to view it on (Samsung S3), and it’s worked really well technically. I think the app was slightly cheaper for a few weeks when it was first released, so I probably paid less than £20. I thought it was an indulgence (I’ve never paid for an app before) but worth trying for at least one season.

    I don’t subscribe to Sky so I don’t know if they provide this level of internet content, but I’ve found the app very useful to keep an eye on tyre data in particular – how many laps each driver has run on which type of tyre in each session (new/scrubbed, prime/option, etc). Also the ability to zero in on individual drivers on the track, to see what kind of traffic they’re in, get combined visual/data on gaps to other drivers, and see flagged incidents before the cameras & commentators see them (if you like that kind of thing, but you can customise it not to show them if you don’t).

    The ability to download sessions and replay live timing has been useful for the occasional race that I couldn’t be bothered to get up for and watch live on TV – it’s got practically everything I need to make it feel like as if I’m watching live. If all I can get is TV highlights, I can pause or fast-forward the action on the app to synchronise with it.

    I haven’t attended a live race this season, but I plan to go to a couple next year, and it’ll provide me with the kind of data I can get at home. I know the Montreal circuit, for example, has wifi, but if it’s not up to scratch I can fall back on a mobile router. So I plan to buy it again next year as long as there isn’t a price increase.

  6. Ferdinand said on 7th February 2014, 23:41

    Where I can download it? It is for Windows (PC)? Where I have a guide about the app (description of colours, modes for free practice, qualifying and race, etc.)?
    Thank you.

  7. stevensanph said on 15th March 2014, 6:20

    cant buy the app as ‘not supported in my country’ and no other option. Really? I have bought the app for the past 4 years and now I’m not allowed it!!! Ridiculous.

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