F1 App Review – Part 3

12 Mar

It’s been a little while since I last did an app review, and with a flurry of apps appearing at the start of the new Formula 1 season, here is my next installment for you.

F1 Timing 2012

(Lite version: Free, Full version: £19,99 on iPad, iPhone, Android)

This app is probably one of the most talked about amongst F1 fans, mainly because of the price tag. After the free version last year with basic timings, it seems we are now obliged to pay £19.99 for access to timing information. I have not bought this app because I know I won’t use it, but it works out at £1 per race.

It is possible to get a free version of the app which gives you access to the official standings and news, but the most dominant feature is the demo of the timing information and the on-track positioning. If you then want to get the live data then the full season is available through an in-app purchase.

The track positioning and live timing features do look good, and I can imagine that if you were regularly going to be unable to watch races, and wanted something visual to follow while listening to a radio commentary, then this could be a good investment. It could also be useful if you were at a race and watching live.

It’s a real shame you can’t buy data per race weekend, rather than forking out for the whole season in one go. This just smacks of greed on Bernie’s part. I’m sure many people will be put off buying the app because of the amount it costs. A more savvy app seller would probably consider selling data for each race.

The official Australian Grand Prix app

(Free, available on iPhone)

This is the official race app for the Melbourne Grand Prix later this week, and although I’m thousands of miles away in Blighty rather than attending the race Down Under, I really like it and have spent a lot of time looking at it. If I was down there it would be invaluable.

The app tells you everything you need to know about the race weekend, including on and off track events, and judging by everything that appears in the listings the Aussies really know how to host an F1 race in style.

Also included is the @ausgrandprix twitter feed, a photo gallery of what is happening locally, news, a map, and facts about the Australian Grand Prix.

This app really lays down the gauntlet for the other races on the calendar to provide something similar. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other race-related apps during the season to see how they compare.

Williams F1 iPredictor

(Free, on iPhone).

Having already given us their Facebook app to follow during pre-season testing, Williams F1 have now delivered their iPredictor app for the 2012 season.

The purpose of the app is pretty obvious from the name – it is a prediction game for the season, and like all good predictors there are prizes available. The ultimate prize for the best score of the whole season is a chance to be a guest of Williams F1 at the 2013 British Grand Prix. The winner for each race gets a goodie bag of team merchandise.

For each race in the season, the app requires you to predict each of the following:

  • The top 6 driver positions
  • The positions of the two Williams drivers
  • Who will set the fastest lap
  • The number of cars to finish the race
  • The number of safety car appearances in the race

The screen for setting your predictions is simple and easy to use, and the app as a whole is good to navigate around. The only thing I don’t like about it is the requirement to have a Facebook account. I’m not sure what it is about the Williams F1 team and Facebook (I guess their marketing/PR folks are all devotees of that social networking site), but it feels wrong to me to limit the use of their app to users of Facebook.

Users can create a league with their Facebook friends who are also using the app, which will make it more fun to use. I can also see that it is a good way for the team to engage F1 fans who aren’t necessarily fans of the team.

The app is quite different from the official McLaren team app (see my earlier reviews) or the features expected in the Red Bull F1 Spy app, but it is great to see another official F1 team app out there. Hopefully Williams will follow up next season with a dedicated app about the team.

Nurburgring app

(Lite version: Free, Full version: £0.69, on iPhone, iPad. Also see Nurburgring Info, free on Android)

This isn’t technically an F1 app, but I found it a few weeks ago and I think it’s pretty neat. The circuit has developed this app to allow motorsports fans access to their webcams positioned around the circuit. The lite version just has the main webcam at the entrance to the circuit (the feed of which can also be found online), whereas the full version also includes feeds of the gas station, the starting grid/finishing line and the Bridge section of the circuit.

Rather irritatingly for us Apple device-owning folks, the Android version is completely free and looks richer in content. I can’t review that one as I don’t have an Android device.

The feed refreshes every minute, and this app shouldn’t be seen as a live action camera feed of the track. It is a really nice idea though, especially for such a historic and important track. There’s no F1 race at the Nurburgring this year, but there’s regularly stuff going on there e.g. the DTM race on 19 August.



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