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What's App F1?

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23/04/2014

It cannot be coincidence that for several years Soft Pauer's F1 Live Timing App was a virtual necessity for the serious F1 fan. OK, in the opinion of some it was a bit on the pricey side but then again for many of those who have grown up on the feast of free information available on the World Wide Web everything should be free of charge regardless of the time, effort and financial investment that has gone into it.

Now, before I go any further, I must admit that for much of the time that Soft Pauer marketed its Live Timing App, Pitpass was one of its main advertising portals. In December (2013) however, we were advised that promotion of the app in 2014 and beyond would be handled by the new promoter/rights holder. Whilst we were naturally disappointed to lose the revenue stream we remained fans of the app and the extra dimension it brought to fellow fans enjoyment of the sport.

However, after four races I am absolutely delighted that we are no longer associated with the app, which though still produced by Soft Pauer, the company which originally developed it, is now run by Formula One Digital, a division of FOM.

True, the app is now around a third of what it used to cost, but on the other hand it only appears to work for a third of the time. If that.

On Friday, many of those using the app for FP1 in Shanghai were greeted with a blank screen while a subsequent tweet announced: "We're having some issues... please expect session data to resume as normal in an hour"

An hour?

Ignoring the fact that those poor souls still relying on the official Formula One website were left with a screen saying "please wait", the fact is that those using the app had paid for this shoddy service.

Prior to this season Soft Pauer tested its system before every single session, just in case, now that the service is promoted 'in house' the attitude appears to be 'like it or lump it'.

While the reduction in price is to be applauded does it really have to be at such a cost, do fans really deserve to be treated so shamefully?

The service is wholly haphazard and unreliable, at stages over the weekend the information was either out of date or totally incorrect. If fans didn't need this service it stands to reason that they wouldn't have paid for it, yet, after four races, it is still as poor as it was in Melbourne.

Granted, now that Formula One Digital is at the helm a few more bells and whistles have been added, but what use are they when the basic app isn't working?

Most have bought the app for the core information they need - much of it previously supplied for free on the official F1 website - information not only related to sector times but tyre info, weather, pit stops and speeds. F1 isn't football, there is much going on, in terms of strategy and so on, that one cannot see, the Live Timing app was meant to afford fans the opportunity to keep track.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 26/04/2014 2:55

"App F1 is more proof that Bernie should sell FOM to the people that run NASCAR, the France family or Humpy Wheeler. They know how to make auto racing totally accessible and they might bring along real track cleaning equipment to replace the straw brooms."

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2. Posted by alejandroX, 23/04/2014 21:42

"This is why many people search for the cracked apk for Android. F1 has enough ways to make money."

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3. Posted by r11co, 23/04/2014 20:30 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 23/04/2014 21:07)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

4. Posted by LifelessDead, 23/04/2014 18:09

"In defense of the new app... the old one on Android was quite crappy as well because of stability issues. Granted, the data feed stability was better, but task switching, sleeping, etc, just crashed it most of the time.

But... as it's just about impossible to watch most of the F1 races live over here due to exclusive TV contracts with absurdly expensive pay-per-monthly-channels, I'm at least happy that the new app doesn't tend to spoil the race result when selecting a replay of a session."

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5. Posted by AlloyHead12, 23/04/2014 18:08

"I paid for and (mostly) enjoyed the F1 app last year. It was a nice adjunct when watching the race live, and a better than average way of experiencing a race after it had been run and/or when I was travelling.

However, the new version for this year does not support my phone (Samsung Galaxy S2), so I can't install it anyway.

So I trawl the web each GP and find some feed that gives me some form of (free) live video, commentary, or timing.

I doubt my $20 last year really made a difference to Bernie's or CVC's pocket, so I doubt the lack of it will make them any poorer, but the lack of any decent F1 app makes me poorer."

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6. Posted by Speedbump, 23/04/2014 16:59 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 23/04/2014 21:07)

" I signed on to "the official website" during the race last weekend, to make use of the live timing feature because I couldn't watch the race. I was very disappointed to find it was not working again. I couldn't find any mention of the race anywhere on the web, until the results were posted on Pitpass after the race.

In Canada, because of FOM's Gestapo like enforcement of their property, it's almost impossible to find any mention of the sport. If you don't catch the race live on television, usually at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, you won't even konw who won the race until checking Pitpass or the like for the results. There is absolutely no chance that if you miss the race, you can find a replay of it later, and because of FOM's policing Youtube and other such sites, I never get to see races that I missed the live broadcast of, or that were not even broadcast here to start with for whatever reason, which happens a few times each season.

If Formula One is looking for reasons why the sport isn't as popular in North America as it is elsewhere in the world, they need to look at their insistence at hiding it from the fans. They don't seem to understand that access to F1 information isn't as widespread here as it is in Europe, it isn't part of local news reporting. By blocking anyone from posting tidbits on Youtube , or allowing the re-broadcasting of the races during regular waking hours, I doubt they will ever gain the following they seem to so crave in North America. At the very least they themselves should be offering access to the races or press conferences on :the official website"

Just my rant on the subject.
"

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