Anyone who owns a smart phone or tablet knows the wonder of apps. These days there is an app for just about anything, no matter if you have an Android device or an Apple device. When it comes to things like sports apps really shine. The official NBA app allows fans to keep track of virtually everything going on in the league, same with the official NFL app, and NHL app. NASCAR and Indy Car have their own official apps too as well and the best thing about all the apps I mentioned is that they are all free.
Last year Formula 1 used to be a part of that group as they offered a free live timing app that also included other features like track notes and weather conditions. I will admit it was a pretty basic bare bones app when compared to what some of the other sports offered but its simplicity actually made the user experience more enjoyable and it really came through when I could not watch a race on TV.
However, this year that all changed. Formula 1 enlisted developer Soft Pauer to revamp their official mobile app and revamp they did. The new app has everything last year’s app had but now with beautiful graphical representations of each track with live position markers for each driver, tire data for each driver (know who is on what tire), DRS zone markers on each track map, live news updates from race control, the ability to follow a specific driver, and pick out certain virtual (not live broadcast) corner views and such. I will be the first to say that is an impressive list of features. The only problem is that this app will set you back a whopping $30 bucks! (Actually $30.99 on Google Play and $28.99 in the iTunes App Store).
In a marketplace where most apps are 99 cents or free a $30 price tag for a mobile app to follow a sport is ridiculous! Or is it? Am I being unfair? Is there a good reason for the high price tag? Lets take a deeper look at some comperable apps (Indy Car and NASCAR) to see how they stack up against F1′s current offering.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile
The NASCAR Sprint Cup mobile app gives users access to live in-car audio from all the drivers in the field, race radio live broadcasts, live timing, live telemetry, and other cool stuff like highlight videos, interviews and the like. All of that stuff is offered for free, or so it appears.
As the title says it is the NASCAR Sprint Cup mobile app. So while the app is technically free, it can only be downloaded if you are a Sprint service subscriber. Also, even if you are on Sprint if you have the iPhone 4 or 4S you are SOL since the app is currently not offered in the iTunes App Store. Some have complained that the only reason they switched to Sprint was for this very app yet they cannot get it because they chose an iPhone instead of an Android powered phone.
Although, this is where the “Free” comes from. NASCAR does not have to charge users for the app since it is pretty much subsidized by the Sprint title sponsorship of the series.
Indy Car Mobile By Verizon
The Indy Car Mobile app is pretty similar to the NASCAR app except the Indy Car App allows for live in-car camera video (for select drivers), live “race control center” video during races, and the ability to split your screen into quadrants and watch 4 video feeds at once. You also get all the live updates, live track positioning, and other stuff you get with apps of this sort.
The Indy Car Mobile app is also free but like the NASCAR Sprint Cup app the key is in the app’s title. This app is only available to Verizon subscribers, and also like the NASCAR app it seems to be exclusive to Android devices at the moment.
“Free” is not so free
Ok, so it turns out that many “free” sports apps out there including the Indy Car and NASCAR apps are only offered as such due to sponsorships and since Formula One has no “official title sponsor” it is understandable why they decided to make their 2012 app a pay for play affair. However, my argument here is not that the Formula One mobile app should be free, its that $30 bucks for the privilege is way too much!
Again I fully conceed to the fact that the F1 2012 live timing app is very feature rich, and good looking but seriously, one would be hard-pressed to find a similar paid sports app period much less one that demands that kind of coin for use. I think Formula One/FIA would make much more money and make people much happier if they reduced the price of the current app to say $10 to $15 and offered a basic version (get rid of all of the 3D modeled live representation of cars, track position, etc) and offered it for a buck.
As it stands, the F1 2012 app has “5,000 – 10,000″ installs. While that may sound like a lot, the Indy Car Mobile app has 10 times as much and the NASCAR app has at least over 5 million installs. Despite locking out the other service subscribers and millions of iPhone owners those two apps still dwarf the F1 apps usership despite F1 being the second most popular sport in the world! What does that say?
On the heels of their successful launch of F1 2011, Codemasters is on the verge of launching “F1 Online The Game”. F1 online attempts to bring the fun of F1 racing in a “top-down view” browser based free to play online game. Players can manage their own team, run licensed teams, design their own liveries, and more. There are also several types of game modes including grand prix, quick fire challenges, and obviously multi-player racing. If this sounds like your brand of apple juice then head over to F1OnlineTheGame.com to sign up for a shot at the closed beta. The full version of F1 Online should launch sometime in the first three months of 2012. Check out the first official gameplay video below.
Just when many were starting to think that F1 was going to repeat the history of American open wheel racing it was announced today that FOTA and the FIA reached an agreement and there will be no “breakaway series” for 2010. However it seems that part of the deal is that FIA President Max Mosely will not stand for re-election at the end of the year and might step down immediately from his position. The details are a bit foggy but you can read reports on this at Autoblog and at SPEEDTV to try and make sense of it all.
In the end this all turned out to be pretty much what I suspected, a firm power play by FOTA to leverage their value and get their voices heard. Mission accomplished…
I guess when American open-wheel racing split Formula One really wasn’t paying attention! It was announced yesterday that FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) have reached an impasse with the FIA and would make efforts to start their own championship in 2010. Who is FOTA? Well they’re something of a union of some of the biggest teams in F1. FOTA includes: Ferrari, BMW Sauber, AT&T Williams, Renault, Red Bull, McLaren, Toyota, and the newest member Brawn GP. Basically every team on the grid! And they’re all sick of how Mr. Mosely and Bernie are running the show. At first this was all just hearsay but last night FOTA dropped a bomb of a press release to put the word out there.
As you can imagine many F1 fan boys and others who are heavily invested in F1′s success are running around like chicken’s without a head right now. Although I still remain skeptical about this whole situation. While a few of the FOTA teams have a lot of money and influence and could theoretically start their own series, my question is where would they race? The FIA still holds contracts with almost every race track in Europe! Does FOTA have the power to make all those tracks break ties with the FIA and risk inflated lawsuits? Probably not…
Personally I see this as just a massive power play on the part of FOTA and if the FIA is smart they’ll finally put their pinky’s down, pull their heads out of their “arses” and take FOTA more seriously. In the meantime I’ll try to keep you posted on the back and fourth of this nasty little situation.
New year same post-race drama. It was announced that Lewis Hamilton would be stripped of his thrid place victory at the Australian GP after it was given to him when Jarno Trulli was stripped of the 3rd spot when he was penalized for passing Lewis while the safety car was out. When the race was over McLaren protested Jarno’s position and was then awarded the bronze. However today in Malaysia Lewis was called before the FIA officials after they found “new evidence” in regards to the incident.
It turns out that McLaren instructed Lewis to let Jarno by while the safety car was out rather than McLaren’s story of Trulli simply taking the position away by force. The evidence in question was a review of radio transmissions between the McLaren pit and Lewis where it was heard that they indeed instructed Lewis to let Jarno by. As a result Jarno was given back his third place spot while Lewis and McLaren were stripped of their finishing position and points.
With Lewis’ teammate Hekki Kovalainen getting himself a big fat DNF at Australia this new development gives McLaren a 0 for that whole weekend, putting them in the same boat as Ferrari going into the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
This is going to be an interesting Formula 1 season!
F1 put out a few new items for 2009. This Gravel Rucksack is one of them. In typical Formula One fashion its all about cutting edge design. Its made from special high density fabric and has a special “airflow” pannel to help keep your back cool while lugging all your stuff around.
In a move that will leave many McLaren fans disenfranchised with the sport, the FIA ruled that McLaren’s appeal against Lewis Hamilton’s penalty at the Belgian GP was “inadmissible.” The FIA sited a rule stating that drive through penalties could not be appealed as the reasoning behind their decision.
However McLaren argued that Toro Rosso was allowed to appeal a similar penalty when their driver Vitantonio Luzzi was punishsed for overtaking under a yellow. The FIA referred to that situation simply as a “mistake”
This is a Fail of epic proportions on FIA’s part. However McLaren and the team are going to keep a “stiff upper lip” on the matter and focus on the remaining four races of the season as Lewis will undoubtedly fight tooth and nail to extend his scant one point lead over Felipe Massa.
In case you forgot this hearing was in regards to Hamilton being stripped of his victoryduring the Belgian Grand Prix when the race stewards imposed a 25-second penalty for an “illegal” overtaking manuver on Kimi Raikkonen. This decision bumped Lewis down to third place and handed the “win” over to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.
McLaren had several strong points to their argument including the fact that Lewis had to cut the “Bus Stop” chicane to avoid hitting Kimi Raikkonenwho drove him wide. Lewis then gave up the position and then took it back right away. I think the stronger point will come in the fact that McLaren spoke to race control twice during the race about the incident and both times the team was assured by control that Hamilton’s actions were within the rules.
Should the court side with McLaren it would mean the award of 6 points to their driver giving Lewis a more comfortable 7 point lead over Massa rather than the scant single point lead he holds now.
However, this is the FIA and crazy things tend to happen so we’ll have to wait until Tuesday when the FIA releases their verdict.
Although if you go by the above picture, Lewis doesn’t seem too worried…
After the fiasco last weekend at the Belgian GP many members of the media and former heavy hitters in F1 have made their feelings public about the stewards decision to penalize Lewis Hamilton thus stripping him of his hard fought victory.
After looking through many responses from fans, the media, and other figure heads in the sport I found an interview with Sir Jackie Stewart by iTV-F1.com. In that interview the former world chaimpion has brought up a valid point that the FIA should really consider further. His argument is that with F1 being one of the most expensive motorsports in the world the FIA should employ full time stewards who bare full time accountability for their actions.
It’s funny that the NBA, NFL, and the MLB all have full time refs but F1 has part time stewards. Maybe now that wise words have been spoken things will start to change.
By the way, that appeal by Mclaren is still pending…