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Red Bull Racing Spy for the iPhone and iPad reviewed - A free F1 app courtesy of the current World Champions

Published by Mr. C

Formula 1 team apps are often a hard sell. They no doubt appeal to fans of said team, but unless they offer a killer feature, are rarely of interest to anyone else. The question is, does Red Bull Racing's latest foray into the world of mobile devices offer such a thing?

Red Bull Racing Spy app screenshot

The social scene

Red Bull (the parent company rather than the F1 team), currently have 15 separate apps listed on the iTunes store. They and their developers are by no means strangers to what makes for a decent portable experience and from the moment you open the Red Bull Racing Spy app that's clear to see. Immediately graphics pop to life on the screen and tabbed content displays quickly.

Since the team first took to Twitter with their F1 Spy account, their approach to social media has been a little different from other teams. This translates well into the app world, where regular updates are nicely fused together with news and facts.

The downside to this clean integration is that there's not a lot of new information to hand, merely a convenient view on what is already available around the web. Handily, you can tweet Spy directly from within the app, should you have questions or fancy setting the individual a tricky paddock challenge.

I did find the lack of Twitter image integration somewhat jarring. Only a link is provided, and tapping this opens a full screen panel, which in turn eventually displays the post on the Twitter site.

Blind date

Dig a little deeper and you'll find a handy means of adding F1 sessions to your local calendar. This is something that will no doubt come into it's own next season, but logic would suggest most fans added reminders to their calendar long before this season began. Integration is absolutely seamless, but implementation comes three or four months too late.

Conversely the race infographics are one of the real highlights of the app, nicely laid out pages that display beautifully on retina screens, especially the iPad. Each race sheet is both eye-catching and absorbing, while the additional bonus facts are useful and quite often a little quirky - I did not know there were 7,000 varieties of cacti in Monaco's Jardin Exotique.

On top of all this, you'll find race results, championship standings and a handy picture gallery containing a few images I hadn't seen before.

That killer feature

Ahead of this app's release, I read that it would include 'lap by lap track positioning', which I took to mean two cars represented as dots, moving around a virtual track in real-time. Perhaps something similar to that currently provided by Mercedes. Alas I can find no sign of such a thing.

It is possible that the race results table might update as cars cross the line, but that's no more than speculation, as I can't see anywhere else such a thing might be hiding.

A second potential killer feature which isn't quite there either, are text updates provided during a race. This time McLaren have the concept sussed, with strategy information, unheard radio traffic and more all available on their site. Red Bull Racing's take is less encompassing however, and while the updates do provide a handy summary of recent events, they are likely only useful to someone unable to watch the race on television.

Target audience

To my mind, either live track positioning or improved text updates would cross the divide that makes this app useful to all Formula 1 fans, rather than just Red Bull Racing fans. That said, there are plenty of reasons why the team might not be interested in providing such things - this is after all a free app, targeted at their own followers and in that regard it is almost perfect in every way.

Red Bull Racing Spy is well designed, listed at the perfect price point and has the potential to push the boundaries of F1 fan interaction. Dubbed a 'paddock in your pocket', if you're an RBR fan, it is all that and more.

Download the Red Bull Racing Spy now

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