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Taylor Swift to win Chinese Grand Prix?

NEWS STORY
31/03/2015

In the days leading up to the season opening Australian Grand Prix fans were taking to social media asking when the 2015 version of the official F1 app would be made available.

The 2014 version had continued during pre-season testing - for news updates and video reports, not timing - whilst all team, race and driver data still referred to the previous season.

When it finally did became available on 11 March, around 48 hours before the opening practice session in Melbourne, the initial reaction was to the cost. Whilst it sold for 7.49 last year, this year the price had more than doubled, increased by 166.8% in fact, to 19.99.

At this stage we should point out that last year we were informed by a source that FOM (Formula One Management) had taken exception to an article we had written about the app. Although we never actually heard anything officially or unofficially from FOM themselves, we were told of the possibility of "legal action", that they intended to "shut us down".

And to think some have said Pitpass is in Bernie Ecclestone's pocket.

However, if the F1 app was late in being released what of the promised re-vamp of the official website which, we were told by Marissa Pace, Formula One Management's Digital Media Manager, last year, was being rebuilt in-line with the sport's new move towards social media, even if Bernie Ecclestone thinks Twitter a waste of time.

In fact, the new look website didn't appear until hours - yes hours - before the opening session in Melbourne, giving fans little time to register, far less give their credit card details in order to get the upgraded timing service for "free".

Yes, you read that right.

The website, like the app, will offer two tiers of service. There is the free version, which will provide the sort of ‘data’ witnessed in 2014, dots instead of actual times in each sector, the most basic of information; and the paid for which will offer just about everything... a full bells and whistle service.

Sadly, the app and the website are not linked at this time, therefore though you might have paid your 19.99 for the app, you will still need to register for the website and give your card details if you want the full (bells and whistles) service.

Whilst the excellent App Support Team on Twitter assures fans that "in April" the two will be linked, which means subscribers will have a common log-in, at present the two are not. Indeed, to make matters worse, in our esteemed editor's case despite having paid 19.99 for the app, 2.29 was also taken from his bank account for the website. Though this was subsequently refunded.

For the first month, which should cover the first three races, the full (bells and whistles) service is available free on the website - providing you've registered - but after that you must either pay (monthly or annually) or resort to the basic (coloured dots) service.

Of course, "free" and "F1" are not words that you usually hear in the same breath, and one can imagine Bernie - in full Mr Burns mode - shouting "release the hounds" when the suggestion was made.

With an eye on FOM's reaction to last year's article, we will reign in our comments on the 2015 app, other than to say that, thus far, not one of the ten sessions (FP1, FP2, FP3, qualifying and GP) has passed without a problem.

A search on twitter will reveal some of the many issues encountered at the season opener, purchasers being told to uninstall and reinstall mid-session, whilst over the Malaysia weekend things got even sillier.

At one stage both the web timing and app, in amongst Hamilton, Rosberg and the rest, showed two Medical Cars and one Safety Car... with their 'race numbers' - and they were leading... great news for Alan van der Merwe and Bernd Maylander... if not for us staring at our tablets, monitors and phones in utter bemusement.

In a later session a number of new names appeared including K Othman, N Tham and S Ali, and a couple of instances where two unheard of drivers were sharing the same car. Then there was Romain Grosjean averaging 790 km/h in S1 during FP3.

Fact is, this app only needs to work for 5 sessions for 19 weekends a year, and despite the assurances of the excellent App Support Team that all the bugs will be sorted out "soon", we remain unconvinced. Based on the experience thus far it is simply not reliable and the info provided cannot be trusted.

With that in mind, don't be surprised to see the beautiful and talented Taylor Swift leading the Grand Prix in China next month, Usain Bolt posting fastest lap, Walter White following Sebastian Vettel's example and knocking on the door that is Mercedes dominance and maybe even the Shanghai Taxi Service to make an appearance.

Should that happen, you can always follow IT Crowd Roy’s advice and try switching your device off and on again.

Update We are now informed that the merger between the F1 app and the premium service on the F1 website will be "around 10 May". That's 5 races in to a 19 race schedule and day of the Spanish Grand Prix... what could possibly go wrong?

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Editor, 01/04/2015 11:22

"@ Leo

It would appear not.

to have changed the webiste hours before FP1 in Melbourne was beyong stupid... also not to have the log-ins for web and app linked.

I predict further problems when the free trial runs out."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Leo, 01/04/2015 11:17

"@ Chris,

Thanks for the tip, looks very usefull.
I'll try it out, but this is something the FOM programmers should take care of. I mean, don't they test/use the live timing themselves?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Hondawho?, 31/03/2015 17:23

"I would rather watch Wallace and Grommit win in the in sidecar at least it would be interesting.

Seriously, Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

BE is now starting to feel the force of media power that for once he CANNOT control and I feel he is getting rather heated under the collar. hence as in his "own F1 series for women" announcement and "I hate twitter or social media"; by saying it openly he thinks it clears the air and his own space! WRONG BE, it makes matter worse but as I say below it will take another one or two generations to find ways to both handle it and accept it.

The Political parties are coming against the same issues and as we are ALL either first or second generation PC/Internet/ Web/Social media users; it will take at least anther one or two generations to fathom out how to handle it. Even BE is not immortal so I guess he will lose that battle."

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4. Posted by Editor, 31/03/2015 16:56

"@ Leo

If you're using Forefox or Chrome, check this out. It works.

http://duncanstephen.co.uk/improve-the-user-experience-of-formula-1-live-timing-with-this-one-small-tweak/

We wrote last year that there are people out there coming up with similar great ideas but instead of embracing them, getting them on board, FOM crushes them."

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5. Posted by Joop deBruin, 31/03/2015 15:46

"I was going to post, but Steve W's post is identical to mine, though I have three years on him since I first followed F1."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Rock Doc, 31/03/2015 14:42

"I've used their app for the previous few seasons, but last years was aweful. So this year when the app was late arriving again, I decided to wait before giving my money to Bernie.

It was a great app initially, a real asset when watching the race. I mostly used it for tracking my drivers whilst the TV's attention was focus elsewhere. But last year with all the problems I stopped using it as it wasn't reliable. Then I got out of the habit. May be this year I will give it a miss."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Tony Soprano, 31/03/2015 12:10

"I tried using the F1 website. Everything jumps around, popups are everywhere, it's confusing and irritating. Bottom line: the new and most definitely NOT improved F1 website sucks!"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Leo, 31/03/2015 11:52

"There is so much wrong with the official site.

This is supposed to be a professional sport, but the promoter can't its "results section" working properly 2 races into the season?? (Yes, there are lists with drivers, but no times, laps, sectors etc.)

The new site is optimised for touch screen devices, which it works (and looks) very bad on a laptop/desktop. Lots of scrolling (due to excessive line padding), only a few entries per page and you have to click something like "load more" to see the next entries (and scroll again). Why not have the option of seeing all entries in a good old-fashioned list without all the unnescessary thumbnail pictures? At least there is some navigation, many "modern" websites don't even bother with that anymore.

Most stupidly implemented feature on the site is the live-timing. Due to ludacrous amounts of white space only the first 10 drivers or so fit on my screen (laptop). To see the others.. scroll down. Now I tried decreasing the viewing size and when I was at 50% the whole list fit. Problem, though, the white space seemed to be of fixed size and only the font had reduced in height (to unreadible). FOM must employ really moronic programmers.

I thought about signing up for the (soon-to-be-)paid premium service, until I read this article:
http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/latest/features/2015/3/race-performance-ratings-explained--australia---cornering.html
The way this data is presented it tells you absolutely nothing at all. I fear all other extra's will be of the same uselessness, so I won't be signing up."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by HappyHippyBiker, 31/03/2015 11:10

"It would be interesting if Pitpass could get statistics for App sales, Website sales, and, just to eaven things up, the PPV sales vs Freeveiw ratings. ...And how is the trackside MonkeyTV rental tingy going? ...And ticket sales? ...And...
We hear numbers are falling in some of these, but from what to what?"

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10. Posted by Steve Flynn, 31/03/2015 10:14

"I'm quite surprised anyone bothers with the "F1 app". It's always been a turd, and now they're asking 20 quid for it, it's just an expensive turd.

Vote with your feet and just don't buy it."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Steve W, 31/03/2015 9:39

"Thanks, but no thanks. I've followed F1 since the late 1960s and I'm not paying extra for anything. I don't 'need it' that bad. I'm already paying over $100 a month for my cable service so I can watch F1 on NBC Sports..."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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