Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Point, counter-point - The F1 Live Timing apps - How much is it right to pay for up to the minute timing data?

Published by Christine

Official F1 Timing app

Today, F1 2012 Timing App developer Soft Pauer celebrated their appearance on the official website, where they are described as "The only official mobile Live Timing and Track Positioning app."

The move marks the end of the previously free, but functionally limited, live timing app.

Why this is bad news for F1 - by Christine

While this is great news for the team at Soft Pauer who developed a fabulous application and have been supporting and developing it over the past couple of years. It's not such great news for the fans, as the promotion of the app means the disappearance of's free version. It was nowhere near as good, but it had the information you needed to know, on the go, and it cost nothing.

I don't know the terms of the deal that sees Soft Pauer become the official app, I don't know if Bernie is making any extra pennies off it. What I do know is that it is yet another way that Formula One costs money, and another step towards removing the sport from the fans. Although I've tried to steer clear of the "Sky is so flippin' expensive" argument, the cost of following F1 this year compared to last year is so exponentially more that to remove the choice of a free option that was perfectly serviceable, if not brilliant, is like a punch in the face.

I'm not the only one who isn't happy about the news.

worked fine for me on my phone.. never had an issue with the free one. no f1 timing app for me anymore then :(

f1_lou f1_lou

I don't want to be down on the announcement, because I know the team at Soft Pauer have been working hard, in the face of much adversity, and they've done a great job to be welcomed in by Bernie. Unfortunately, heading into his arms removes them from mine.

Why this is good news for F1 - by Mr C

No sooner had Soft Pauer unleashed their fantastically innovative F1 timing and positioning app on an unsuspecting world, Formula One Management Ltd felt the need to one-up the development team from Bicester with their own rather poor alternative. I have no inside knowledge on the whys or wherefores, but it felt from where I was sitting that the move was designed to destabilise Soft Pauer's product, and to deliberately cause consumers confusion.

Formula 1 had gone from zero apps, to two distinct solutions overnight and the onus was then on fans to choose the correct one. On the one hand you had a free, official app that provided timing information similar to that found on the website, while on the other you had a more expensive application, seemingly without any official support, that provided a slew of unique and original features.

Given that choice, who wouldn't select the free and known option. Who doesn't like free stuff?

The problem though, was that the free app sucked. The user interface sucked, the graphics sucked, the layout sucked, the log in screen sucked, the whole experience sucked. Everything about it was truly awful. It felt like a rushed release and subsequent updates did nothing to address any of the suckyness. I was embarrassed for Formula 1, embarrassed that its sole officially supported app was rubbish. Free rubbish, I'll grant you, but rubbish all the same.

With today's changes, fans now find themselves devoid of a free timing app, but at least F1 has a respectable presence on mobile devices. Confusion over what is and isn't the official app has also been cleared up.

As a fan you can of course choose not to pay for the better app, just like you can choose not to pay for TV coverage or not pay to attend a race. The question is only, how much is F1 worth to you?

Final thought for the day, I notice that Soft Pauer have as yet not released an update to their MotoGP 2011 Timing App. Maybe they've been offered enough "incentive" to not bother this year.