Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

There's an official Formula 1 iPhone app, and it rocks! // Live timing comes to a mobile device near you

Published by Mr. C

If you've been hanging out in the comments over the past 24 hours, you might have concluded that Sidepodcast quite likes the iPhone. A dearth of interesting Formula 1 news has meant we've been getting most of our kicks from technology updates planned by the people in Cupertino.

F1 iPhone Monaco map

However, aside from announcements tenuously relating to plans we have for the future of Sidepodcast, there wasn't much to tie the new iPhone back to Formula 1. That was until I read Will Buxton's blog post this evening.

The man discusses the brand new, and more notably the official, F1 Timing Application available for purchase from the App Store. It's a good one, too.

Actually, the first time we heard mention of this thing was during 5Live's race broadcast on Sunday, when David Croft said both he and Anthony Davidson were using it to receive updates in the commentary box. Somehow we promptly forgot to look for it afterwards, but if it's good enough to be used when you're broadcasting live to the nation (and to the six fans who bothered to turn up in Turkey), it's good enough for me.

But what do you get for your money?

I'm broke but I'm happy

The software works during all live F1 sessions from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. You're initially presented with an interactive circuit map that details all driver positions at any stage and you can select an individual driver to focus on. Weather data is continually updated, whilst a timely race order is also present.

Flip the device into landscape mode and you'll get a full screen live map, or hit the info tab for a more typical live timing display similar to that already provided via f1.com.

F1 Live Timing on the iPhone

If a session has already finished, you can watch it back in real-time as often as you like, although data must be downloaded before playback. It probably goes without saying, but although this application runs just fine on the iPod Touch too, you'll still need an internet connection to receive any live updates.

A second screen provides circuit maps for every race on the calendar, current championship standings and driver bio's. A third offers a rather simple text description of any ongoing action (live commenting, it isn't!).

With one hand in your pocket

In the UK the software sells in the App Store for £4.99, although it's not entirely clear if there are further charges to pay on a race-by-race basis.

It will work on current iPhone and iPod Touch models (and presumably also on the 3.0 update due next week). The code has been pulled together by a company called Soft Pauer and although this appears to be their first App Store submission they've done a fine, fine job of developing it.

Of note, the terms and conditions do state that software may collect anonymous data useage statistics, although apparently solely for quality control purposes.

That's pretty much all we know at the moment. We intend to road test the thing properly during the British Grand Prix weekend and will likely report back with details after that. It looks to all the world like it'll be a winner and Formula 1 has just taken a huge step forward in terms of giving fans more access to what's going on during a race.

Nick did point out earlier that this information should really be available on your desktop too, so we're keen to hear more thoughts and opinions on whether you think this is a good thing for F1 fans or not? Would you buy the F1 Timing App, or have you already?

All content in the series F1 on the iPhone