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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

F1 Live Timing App not my cup of tea

I'm not the most tech literate person in the world and don't tend to get too excited by Apps, particularly paid ones, so I thought I'd give my view on the official Live Timing App for 2013 and on F1 distractions in general.

The fact is that I'm not a fan.  The live timing screen, which is free for those who sign up, gives all of the information that I need if I miss qualifying or want to follow Free Practice while I'm at work.

The F1 Cave
If I'm watching a Race or Quali then I like to enjoy the race itself.  If I was to enjoy timing screens, 3D pictures of where everyone is on the track, and of course Twitter, I'd need to slink off to the F1 cave where I could sit at my bank of computer and television screens watching TV, following each page on the App, and reading and contributing to the #F1 Twitter feed.  As well as that I'd want at least three in-car screens so I could follow 2nd place and two other battles on-track from the car behind.

Australian GP Control Room
It's never going to happen.  I'm not commentating on a GP so I don't need to distract myself in order to keep an audience informed.  I can sit back and watch the race unfold on the TV, subject to being able to find some quiet corner where the kids can't find me of course.

I'm not going to enjoy the experience any more if I water it down by inputting numerous other feeds into my brain.

What's more important the actual race or watching all of the other crap that everyone else is going to tell you about anyway?

If I were at a circuit and could be guaranteed an uninterrupted WiFi feed then this App would be worth every penny because you'd know where everyone was at any given time.

The experience of a live race is unrivalled by TV or any other form of tech, but it can be enhanced by things like Fanvision (which has parted ways with the circuits), this type of App (were the circuits to provide trackside WiFi), and the massively large TV screens dotted around the track: find yourself at a location without a view of one of those and you'll struggle to keep abreast of what's happening.

The fact is that I enjoy watching Quali and the races live but that's about all that's important to me.  Free Practice is only indicative and, while it's a must see when at the track, it's not important to anyone but the teams at the races.

The only TV coverage of Free Practice which I would find compelling and unmissable would be Thursday FP at Monaco.  The circuit may be anachronistic, obsolete, unsafe, and processional but it remains the jewel in the crown of the sport.  As a race Monaco may be a waste of time but watching those cars racing around that track at those speeds in close proximity is one of the most satisfying Televisual experiences going.

In summary, this App isn't for me, I want my plain, unvarnished racing to take place on my TV screen in front of me.  I would want access to all of the material after the race but I then I want access to everyone's data after the race and most of it pops up on the web somewhere or other.

F1 is desperately seeking to break through on new platforms and in new media but this kind of in-race application doesn't improve my viewing experience, it's an undesirable distraction; a distraction that will set you back about £24 - I'd prefer a cup of coffee