June 2009 – 2014
Partway through the 2009 season, F1 launched its first app for iOS and Android, featuring enhanced live timing (when compared to the F1 website, which simply offered users a single timing screen & weather info), and live driver tracking – showing the positions of the drivers on track. This was developed by a company called Soft Pauer (founded by Otmar Szafnauer, now the Chief Operating Officer of the Force India F1 team). Initially, a similar app was also developed by Soft Pauer for MotoGP, which continued up until after the release of the 2011 app, at which point Soft Pauer appears to become solely focused on F1. Between then and 2014, minor improvements continued to be added to each season’s version of the app, for example including when a driver has deployed their DRS.
2014 – March 2015
In 2014, A company called “Formula One Digital Media Ltd” developed and released an updated version of the app. The live timing & driver tracker elements of the app remained the same as in previous years, but plenty of new functionality was also added, including in-corner-analysis (showing where in a corner a driver has braked into then accelerated out), exclusive team radio clips while the session was in progress, live audio commentary (from BBC Radio 5 Live), and most importantly exclusive video clips.
At this point, FOM had yet to launch their new website (that would occur in March 2015, shortly before the start of the first race of the season), nor had their social media platforms sprung into life, so this was totally new territory for FOM. The app had a built-in news feed, and FOM inserted exclusive video clips throughout the season.
These video clips were surprisingly in-depth (often 5-10 mins long), and featured totally exclusive content such as pitlane walks, live corner analysis (Gary Anderson or James Allen commentating live on the drivers traversing their way through a particular corner complex), exclusive interviews, highlights videos (with Sky Sports commentary), and summing-up/predictions from the presenters. These were typically hosted by Gary Anderson, Bob Constanduros & James Allen and often included archive clips. Initially the videos were uploaded at a resolution of 640×360. This increased to 1280×720 for the British Grand Prix, but as a result, the overall length of the videos was reduced (to keep the file size similar to before). Throughout the 2014 season, just under 300 videos were uploaded.
This continued right up until the very end of pre-season testing, with a similar set of exclusive videos (hosted by Peter Windsor) uploaded on each day of testing, again reasonably in-depth – on a par with other broadcaster’s testing coverage. Ultimately 100 videos were uploaded over testing, once again including content like live corner analysis, summary/update videos as the day progressed – with plenty of footage of the cars on track. Each day of testing typically had around 17 minutes of content produced, spready across approx. 10 videos per day.
March 2015 – present
Along with revamped F1 website, FOM further revamped the official timing app. Gone were the mobile-exclusive videos, instead replaced with a mirror of the videos posted to the website’s new videos section – keeping the two platforms in sync. Alongside this, the quality of the team radio was increased, and a second commentary stream was added: “local” commentary – featuring the commentary team from the country where the grand prix was being held.