Official F1 app 2014

Official F1 Live Timing App 2014 reviewed

ReviewsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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


Browse all Reviews

112 comments on “Official F1 Live Timing App 2014 reviewed”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

    1. 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.

      1. Thanks but f1lt (I have tried it) is not giving sector laptimes (or did I missed that?), nor is it giving the “intervals” between drivers… and that’s what I need. I could pay for it but it is not available for PCs, only for IOS+Android cellphones…

        1. Correct, I believe it relies on what ever data the legit F1 timings offering.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

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

    1. Oh the premium stuff is an in app purchase, sorry.

  10. * 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

  11. I gather the main reason for much of the bugs is because the app was very late been developed & released so there wasn’t time to do any real testing before Melbourne.

    This app has been totally re-written compared to those of the past few years & the decision to do that & move away from Soft Pauer was taken very late, The Android version wasn’t finished until 2-3 days before Melbourne.

    They know its buggy, Know what the bugs are & how to fix them so an update should not be too far off.

    No mention of the Team Radio clips & Live audio commentary from BBC Radio?

    1. @gt-racer I’ve scanned through the source code of the APK (they haven’t encrypted it or anything – it takes a while but it’s possible to de-compile the apk) and there are plenty of references to soft pauer’s code in there, so to say it’s been “totally re-written” is incorrect. FODM were updating the app regularly over the weekend. IMO the only bug i’ve found is that the timing is a tad glitchy and the Team Radio isn’t working properly yet.

  12. Dave (@f1submariner)
    23rd March 2014, 15:08

    I have bought the official App each year since 2010 and always found it worth every penny. Watching Sky F1 HD, I find the app gives me 8 second advantage ahead of broadcast, plus gaps, sector times compared to the commentary. This years app appears the same and it did jump around a bit during Aussie GP – but it’s still worth every penny.

  13. I’ve got an old iPhone 3GS and the 2014 crashes almost as soon it loads for me. Boo hoo! :(

  14. Keith, while the price of the app is indeed 9.99GBP, it differs between countries. I bought it for the equivalent of 5.25GBP (99000IDR).
    For comparison, the MotoGP app is priced the same as in England and automatically converted to local currency -> 19.99GBP -> 370000IDR… a massive of almost 4x the price of the F1 app! And you would think that the country where there are lots of MotoGP fans (Indonesia, one of the biggest market for the two top factory teams which is Honda and Yamaha) with a much lesser buying power than most western countries would get a cheaper price for the app.
    The pricing mentioned above is from the Google Play Store. I haven’t checked the pricing on the Apple App Store.

  15. Why don’t true F1 fans make a stand. Every time a price is put on something you reach in and pay. If nobody paid for SKY, F1 would be free to air. If nobody paid for this app, guess what? It would remain free. I’m afraid it is the so called fans that are digging the grave for F1. I won’t be using the app because I make a stand and will not be part of the demise of F1. In 5 years when no one can afford anything with an ‘F1’ tag, remember you read it here first.

    1. @tiomkin – The F1 timing app was never free in the first place, in fact, as pointed out in the review, it’s over 50% cheaper compared to last year. If you can’t afford to pay a single one-off payment of £10 for 12 months access then I’m surprised you can afford to wash & feed yourself…

      1. And how many times does someone have to shell out £10 for 12 months? If I have to do this 100 times for everything then yes, It soon adds up. This cost is not in isolation. It is an additional nonsense that pushes up the cost of living. Wait 5 years, then the vast majority of adults will not be able to afford F1 or any sport. Nice insult by the way money bags.

        1. @tiomkin Once a year… Will you be alive in 100 years then?

          I’m hardly money bags, £35 a month that sky charge for F1 on Sky Go is steep IMO.

  16. yet another nail in the F1 coffin

  17. @keithcollantine Can you possibly re-review the app after a couple of races, i.e. after they’ve had time to iron out all the alledged bugs? (I personally didn’t have a single force close on my Nexus 5 throughout the entire Aus GP weekend, although team radio was v. patchy)

  18. I brought the app for both my phone and iPad ( they are on seperate apple accounts)
    I am generally happy with what is provided.
    The iPad display is great. For qualifying it was great you can select a driver and see their current speeds, gears, sector times and tyres. Interestingly I was at the Melbourne GP and used the app on my phone for much of the sessions and the app timing was updating faster than the spectator screen times.

    To those complaining about $10 for a season access. At 19 races that’s little over 50c per race…. I mean really? It costs me $18 to go to the movies. $8 for a McDonalds meal.
    I acknowledge that PC app would be good, but you can blame computer hackers for that. If people didn’t strive so hard to everything for free through illegal means, the businesses would be able to provide what people want. Developing stuff for PCs is a risky business with is why apps are taking precedence.
    I can say all that because I have had my own software business devastated by pirating. Couldn’t be bothered putting in the hours and investment to have it stolen within 24 hrs of going on sale.
    Businesses have a right to get a return on their investment. Saying “they have enough money anyway, I want it for free” is the unfortunate point of view much of society have today.
    F1 is a business not a charity
    The app in my opinion is better than last year with more data and i am sure they will patch out the few bugs I experienced.

  19. Formula1 is suffering from lack of testing, so does the Live Timing application.

  20. 1. The fact that this app was released in the week prior to the first race indicates the haste in which it was completed. Especially when you compare previous versions went on sale BEFORE the new year. They needed to wheel it out in ANY shape to cash in on the first race hype just in case any potential purchasers watched the first race and quit on the sport for the year. Sort of like a car in the pits having work done leaving pit lane without a front wing to avoid losing a lap under a safety car: “Just get it out there and fix it later”.

    2. The previous versions of the Soft Pauer timing app have been Unpersoned. Even the 2010 version of the app was available for purchase until a few weeks ago but now all traces of its existence is gone from at least the Google Play pages, and I suspect the fruit pages will be the same. Whether or not the app was based on the Soft Pauer version, I don’t know, but there has been some wrangling/flexing of muscle between the parties involved here.

    3.It looks as though they are trying to create an entire website experience in the app – not just live timing screens. Maybe in the coming months they will be able to achieve it, but from my perspective it looks a fair way off.

    4. I can accept if the app has some teething problems, but the fact that Massa & Kobayashi were placed in 9th & 10th place at various points during the race is unforgivable. Not once in the Soft Pauer version of the app did I find an error this obvious. The map is a little fiddly, but that’s only because I could only install on my phone and not on my tablet (which is another story altogether).

    5. The price is cheaper, yes. But the timing service is also inferior. Pro rata as far as I can see…

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.