Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

BBC iPlayer drags F1 out of the dark ages - UK fans able to download Formula One races on the go

Published by Mr. C

Today was a good day. Today I downloaded my first Formula One race. Admittedly the content will expire within seven days of being played, but for a sport that is as notoriously backwards as F1 when it comes to the subject of digital downloads, this is big news.

The BBC released version two of their renowned iPlayer app for the iPhone and iPad this morning and with it came the ability to download featured content to your smartphone or tablet device (an updated Android app is also coming soon).

Downloads can remain archived for 30 days or expire within seven days of being played. A wifi connection is required for the initial synchronisation, but after that you can take the content anywhere with you, or at least anywhere you take your phone.

Downloading an F1 race on the iPlayer

20th century toy

With the BBC having broadcast the Belgian Grand Prix this past weekend, F1 fans in the UK are today able to download both of the washed out Friday practice sessions, qualifying action from Saturday, the whole of Sunday's television coverage (including the build up and post race forum), plus a highlights package. Phew!

You'll need a fast internet connection to make use of this new functionality. Content can be acquired in either normal or high quality format, but be warned that even the highlights package weighs in at 616 MB when using the latter option. The 2 GB download of the race is still syncing as I write this.

Although the BBC doesn't specify, the higher quality option appears to fall a little short of HD quality footage, at least to my eyes.

While it is still not possible to purchase a race and own it for life, and while this is only available for licence-fee payers in the UK, it is a significant step in the right direction. Wherever you are, wherever you go, be sure to always have some F1 in your pocket to keep you entertained.