Jul 29, 2018

F1 TV Access - Is it worth it?

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Some weeks ago, waiting to take my 20-day army vacation leave and having lost most of this season’s races, I decided to subscribe to F1 TV. My thoughts?

F1 TV availability

Because we live in an imperfect world, like most of the mainstream subscription platforms (see Youtube Red, Netflix, Spotify etc) F1 TV is not unanimously available around the world.

You can see here if your country is eligible for F1 TV Access, or F1 TV Pro. If there is F1 TV Pro for your country, F1 TV Access is available too.

There are two “tiers” - or models if you prefer - of F1 TV paid subscriptions:

F1 TV Access (2,99€/month)

This is the basic subscription model available in most countries - and Greece - and provides:

  • Live Timing (available via app too)
  • Tyre Usage history (available via app too)
  • Historic Races Archive
  • Driver Tracker Map (available via app too)
  • Full Race Replays

The subscription is priced at 2,99€ per month or 26,99€ per year (that’s an 8,89€ discount).

You can subscribe here.

F1 TV Pro (7,99€/month)

This is the premium subscription model and it is available to much fewer countries - Greece is not one of them. It provides everything F1 TV Access does and on top of that:

  • Live Races on Demand
  • Access to all F1 onboard cameras
  • Access to full unedited team radio
  • Live leaderboard

The subscription is priced at 7,99€ per month or 64,99€ per year (that’s a 30,89€ discount). You can subscribe here.

F1 TV Access in Greece

f1tva1 So, I registered in formula1.com (keep in mind that I had to register again as my old F1 Account was not available anymore), I paid the 2,99€ fee for the F1 TV Access after getting disappointed that I couldn’t subscribe to the Pro service and downloaded the official F1 Android App on my M1 A1.

F1 TV Access via Web

Page 1 - Home

It took me 2-3 clicks more than it should, to find the F1 TV Dashboard. You can find it here, or by hovering F1 TV on the Formula One website and then clicking F1 TV from the drop-down menu. I have to admit it took me 2 or 3 attempts to hit the button as the dropdown menu disappeared too early.

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After logging in, I found the F1 TV Access dashboard (a part of it you can see above) really basic and simple, which is good.

I am certain I could reproduce the website’s front-end within 2 to 3 days of work. Again: this is great. You do not have to get lost in menus inside menus, media inside popups inside categories and so on.

The dashboard is divided horizontally into 4 sections:

  • The header, where you can see the latest video
  • The latest weekend section, where you can see videos from the latest racing weekend
  • Formula 2 and GP3 Highlights, where - well - you can see highlights from Formula 2 and GP3 Championships
  • Season so far: where you can choose which 30-minute race recap of the current season you want to see.

Here’s a full page screenshot of today’s dashboard: f1tvafull

Page 2 - 2018 Season

The second (of the three pages) is dedicated to the current season.

There you can find the past races and view the results or the 30min race recap or the upcoming races where you can find videos of the practice and qualification sessions - if the upcoming racing weekend has already started - or highlight videos for the track you chose from previous years.

Page 3 - Archive

The archive is something new. We never had before the ability to watch races, highlights, and various videos from more than a season before.

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Now you can watch iconic Grand Prixs like the 1998 Belgian GP or the 2004 USA GP, alongside with most of the modern era championships.

There still work to be done here as many iconic races are missing, but new videos are getting published every month.

F1 TV Access via Android

The mobile app is nothing like the web version, which in a way is somehow acceptable considering that you have to put the same stuff in much smaller screens.

However, there are small things that will make you at least annoyed until you learn the app’s behavior.

For example, the Android back button, while in most apps takes you to the previous screen, regardless if you minimized the app, here you will find out that in most cases just minimizes the app. Do you watch a video and want to go back? You have to minimize the video from the bottom right corner of the player instead of simply pressing back. Do you want to close the map and view perhaps a video? You have to first pause the map because the commentary will be playing even if you left the map and then press back.

Aside from these minor issues, the app is very smooth. When you open it you will see the upcoming racing weekend dashboard.

f1tva4

If it’s Sunday you can watch on-demand the Replay of FP1, FP2, FP3, and Q on the interactive map. If it is racing time, you can see live the race on the map.

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You need to take some time and learn the map, as it is not very clear at the beginning how you can choose the drivers, their sessions, forward/rewind time, use the commentary channels and settings.

The built-in player is exactly what you need: quick-to-load, smoothness playback, play/pause button, volume, and timeline.

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Is it worth it then?

It is a perfect companion service. It is perfect for those who cannot watch live the F1 weekends and want to see more than a 10-15min highlights video that is available for free.

The service provides a perfect catch up experience, but that’s all. If you want access to on-board cameras, full and live races then you need F1 TV Pro - if it’s available in your region.

For 2,99€ per month though, it is definitely worth a try.

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