Official F1 Live Timing App 2014 reviewed

Reviews

Official F1 app 2014The quieter sound of the new engines wasn’t the only cause for complaint for some during last week’s Australian Grand Prix.

As the first race weekend of the season got underway many fans were more than a little disappointed to discover that the live timing page on the official F1 website had been stripped of most of its functionality. No sector times, no lap chart, no weather information – just a list of lap times and purple/green/white sector time indicator lights.

Since the official Formula One app first went on sale it’s been a question of when rather than if the free version would be cut back to give viewers an incentive to buy. But does the paid version offer a sufficient increase in functionality at a reasonable enough price to be worth it?

Pricing has been a major area of complaint with this app in years past. The 2013 edition was priced at an excessive £23.99 for a single season.

The new version, marketed by Formula One Digital Media instead of Soft Pauer, appeared with little fanfare shortly before the new season began but immediately distinguished itself with a substantial price cut.

It’s now offered for a much more sensible £9.99 for the all-bells-and-whistles version. For your money you get much the same information as was available in last year’s app, including a live map of the circuit, detailed sector information and speed, gear and tyre data.

A free offering remains, though as on the website you only get a basic leaderboard and text commentary. The paid version remains a one-year subscription.

The experience of using it is familiar from previous apps and does it a good job of presenting complicated and rapidly-changing data in an intelligible way.

I’m sure I would have enjoyed rummaging through the rich data on offer but I couldn’t, for the simple reason that the app is unbelievably buggy. You get the full gamut of glitches: it fails to load, crashes mid-session, dumbly fails to respond to your taps and shows wildly incorrect information.

Throughout the Australian Grand Prix weekend it was unusable, and on the infrequent occasions when it did run the data stream was usually well behind the free website timing screen. When the developers get all the bugs worked out it may well be an excellent app, but it’s a leap of faith at the moment.

Choosing to cut back the free live timing page may make sense as a business decision, but failing to offer a corresponding paid version for desktop users doesn’t – and wouldn’t even if the paid add worked beautifully. It clearly wasn’t ready for the start of the season, leaving F1 fans less well catered for in this respect than they were six months ago.

Last week team principals admitted they had been surprised by the strength of reaction from fans against the dismal double points rule. No doubt for some changes like this are enough to turn the off the sport completely.

But more often than not it isn’t a single change, rather an accumulation of factors which prompts a person to give up on something they once enjoyed. Factors like the inconveniences of not being able to follow the sport as well or as closely as they used to.

The gutting of the free live timing page and the huge shortcomings in the paid version (price cut notwithstanding) is another example of how those who are supposed to be marketing the sport are getting it wrong at the risk of alienating its fan base.

F1 Fanatic rating

Rating two out of five

The official F1 Live Timing App 2014 can be purchased through Google Play for Android, iTunes for Apple

Official F1 Live Timing App 2014

Format: Android, Apple
Publisher: Formula One Digital Media
Published: March 2014
Price: £9.99

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112 comments on Official F1 Live Timing App 2014 reviewed

  1. Elliot Horwood said on 23rd March 2014, 12:48

    “and is locked to a single device. ” It’s locked to your apple ID, i can use the app on my iPhone AND iPad. It cost me £7.49 so must have gone up in price. To get sector times it was worth the money

  2. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 23rd March 2014, 12:51

    It gets -10/10 from me because for some reason they feel that if you live in South Africa you are not allowed to purchase it or use the free version. For that reason my experience so far has been terrible. I am forced to get the pirated version of the app.

    • Frans said on 23rd March 2014, 16:00

      I might be wrong, but I remember someone from South Africa (or maybe other country?) can’t buy it at the beginning. But near the race weekend (or at least before the qualifying), he can buy it. I also at the beginning can buy it, but they eventually release it for my country (Indonesia) at March 14th (Friday). The good thing (at least for me) about it is that they priced it differently between countries, and I can buy it at a cheaper price compared to the England price of the app. Maybe that was the reason that it wasn’t immediately available in all countries because they want to create a specific price for each country.

      • stevensanph said on 25th March 2014, 11:55

        I’m in the Philippines and I can still NOT download it. It is ‘not available in my location’ apparently. Having spent on the app for the last 3/4 years, it is more than a little disappointing that I am not considered worthy enough to need it.

        As the article says, just about enough to make me turn off again…

  3. R@ptor (@raptor) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:11

    Errors, bugs, glitches, malfunctions, always late. Another useless app F1

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:11

    Atleast they’ve cut the price, realizing that it’s pretty poor software.

    For as complex and advanced as Formula One is, it baffles me how their software for users and their website is so unbelievably outdated, slow and poorly set out.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:13

    The gutting of the free live timing page and the huge shortcomings in the paid version (price cut notwithstanding) is another example of how those who are supposed to be marketing the sport are getting it wrong at the risk of alienating its fan base.

    Exactly Keith. I will just live without sector times for now, who knows how many races I will bother follow live anyway this year. One I am almost certain to miss is Abu Double, a boring race and with the farcical Super duper extra points bonanza thing its just asking to get its bluff called.

  6. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:13

    [T]hose who are supposed to be marketing the sport are getting it wrong at the risk of alienating its fan base.

    My sentiments exactly. If the spectacle of a Formula 1 Grand Prix was not so immense and engaging, what motivation would there be to follow a sport that clearly values its fans behind the profit it makes from its fans? In this regard F1 really has a lot to learn from a series like BTCC, of which one of the key factors is the reasonable pricing of tickets, or paddock passes and other items, and there is no McCarthyism on the censorship of online videos. I am very financially comfortable, I have often found myself on the exciting side of the paddock fence at Silverstone, but even I can appreciate the frustrations of those clearly alienated by a sport that blatantly doesn’t value the allegiance of the more badly off. But at least we have the people’s champion, F1 Fanatic! Thank you for staying my hand from buying that app, it was just in time!

  7. This app (at least the Android version) has been developed with a framework which cannot keep the pace with the needed requirements…
    And keep in mind the application F1LT (OPEN SOURCE and FREE) by Pieczar has been removed due to FIA request.
    Fortunately, you can still build the APK and use it.

    Best regards,
    Luca B.

  8. Alex Attard said on 23rd March 2014, 13:31

    I used to used the online timing website on my laptop and it was great last year. You would read the race especially during the pitstop phases and know exactly where drivers are going to get out after the pit-stop, who is gaining, etc.

    I’m questioning myself why there is no option to buy the update version like the app available on their website for PC users like myself. I have also sent an email to the FIA but I’m not surprised that this has not been read.

  9. Once again I have the feeling the true fans are ignored… I won’t be totally opposed to a pay version (at a fair price indeed) but
    1. I want to get more than what I had for free.
    2. I want the damn thing to run on my PC so that I have all I need on the same screen thru my local network (dsl) not on a smartphone with it ridiculously small screen…

    • frankus28 (@frankus28) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:51

      In conjunction with the free version of the app of iPad I also used the third party F1LT in my laptop. This also experienced bugs during the race, in particular the current drivers’ positions in the track map. But once they’ve sorted it out, this will be my sole source of race data.

  10. frankus28 (@frankus28) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:44

    I followed the Aust GP using the official app free version and I can forgive the early season bugs but won’t be subscribing to the premium version on the principle that it should be made available to fans for free and absorb the cost of developing the app.

    I watched the Bathurst 12 hour race this year on a fairly good resolution live stream all day and had my laptop open to a spartan looking but comprehensive live timing data. I felt so looked after as a motorsport fan!

    F1 is a very profitable product without needing to milk it’s fan base for more pennies.

  11. IDR (@idr) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:45

    I’ve been buying the app since there was available but this year, I do not.

    Is paying money for nothing. Last year, it was almost impossible to use it properly. Big delay in showing info, stop working….

    Bernie is too old to run that part of the business.

  12. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 23rd March 2014, 13:45

    Not surprised by this review at all. I bought the full paid app way back in the 2010 season and it sounds like it’s just as awful and unusable today as it was back then.

    FOM seem determined to turn F1 into some sort of exclusive premium priced experience accessible only to wealthy and upper middle class people.

  13. quads said on 23rd March 2014, 14:01

    Those “celebrating” the price-cut, do forget that much of the info was actually FREE one year ago. This “price-cut” is nothing but a well known technique sellers always used, to make a customer “feel” that they are making a good deal, while in reality they are (still) being ripped off. Do not offer the price you want directly – offer first a higher price. Then “decrease” the price, basically to the price that you actually wanted to start with, and you will make the customer much more happy to pay you…even for something that used to be free.

    All this said, I do not think this is the major problem with this business-sport. The real problem is that I as a customer am paying to see racing, and what I am getting is “a lot of lifting off and coasting around the lap” as Button expressed it after practice in AUS. The core of the “sport” is at risk, and the greedy people running it are busy most of the time finding new “business cases”. Hopefully soon they will have more “business cases” than customers. Then and only then we will get back to the basics and see some real racing. Racing where the driver actually matters.

  14. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 23rd March 2014, 14:03

    I went and looked out of curiosity and all I can find is this free version

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.softpauer.f1timingapp2014.basic&hl=en

    Where is the paid version? Keep in mind I’m in Ireland so maybe it’s not available here.

  15. KimiFTW said on 23rd March 2014, 14:07

    * It clearly wasn’t ready for the start of the season, leaving F1 fans less well catered for in this respect than they were six months ago.
    They should release it for iOS, Android and Windows Phone at the same time. No delays whatsoever

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