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Four must-have F1 apps for your smartphone

Last updated on: April 1, 2011 14:42 IST

Four must-have F1 apps for your smartphone

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Vishal Mathur, ThinkDigit.com

The Formula One season is well and truly under way now, after the disappointment, also known as the Bahrain Grand Prix! However, for the true Formula One aficionado, the scream of the V8 engines will fill the air (at least the air around the televisions, for most of us!) and we are all set for another closely fought season.

Red Bull Racing has the pace, with two extremely quick drivers leading the charge. Ferrari are no mugs on the track, with the very capable Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa determined to bring the glory back to the Prancing Horse. However, do not forget the completely contrasting drivers are McLaren: The super quick Lewis Hamilton, and the super smooth Jenson Button. Michael Schumacher may just spring a surprise and really have a go at winning his 8th F1 drivers title.

The action is going to be extremely riveting. However, you may not always be around a television every Sunday evening (or mornings/afternoons, depending on the race timings) to catch up with the live action.

In such a scenario, use your smartphone. With one or multiple apps, you can keep up with the action on the track. For those of us who like a bit of geekery, download the correct app and get complete timing boards, sector times, full lap time charts, and even the track position of the cars on a virtual track. It is time to let the smartphone earn its reputation of being smart.

Be it a Nokia or an Apple iOS device or a Blackberry or an Android smartphone, you will never be away from the F1 action.

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Image: A collage of all four F1 apps
Photographs: ThinkDigit.com
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F1 2011 Timing App CP
By: Soft Pauer
Available for: Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
Price: Rs 1,455 on Android Market; 19.99 on Apple App Store
Download size: 11.28 MB to 15.1 MB

This is a truly fabulous application, which every F1 fan will love to have access to. Open the app and the first screen offers a mix of the lap time boards on half the screen and the completely active 3D map of the track the race is being held on. This map shows car positions on the track, with corner numbers.

Users can either see the bird's eye view of the positions on the track, or select a driver or corner. To select a driver, click on his name on the lap time board on the top half of the screen. The view will be zoomed in to focus on the car of that driver, be it while he is on the track, or in the pits.

Click on the name again to zoom back out. Click on any corner number to zoom the map in on that particular part of the track. Click again to zoom out.

Just above the map is a scroll box with text based updates of what is happening on the track, drivers heading into/out of the pits etc. All data here is regularly updated, for the practice sessions, qualifying as well as the race.

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Rotate the device to landscape mode and the map occupies most of the space, with the chart moving to a little space on the left, vertically, while the scroll text updates shift to the bottom of the screen.

Any updated are flashed on the map. For example, during the first practice session, we saw the flash "every driver has an extra set of hard tyres to use this session". However, once a new session starts, the app downloads anywhere between 3MB and 5MB of data, before it starts pulling in the updates.

Not only this, the F1 2011 Timing App CP also updates users with the latest news updates. The full text based commentary of the various race weekend sessions is also available, with only important updates flashed for the practice sessions, and much faster updates available for the qualifying and the race itself.

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While this is a perfect app for the F1 fans, the price may put off quite a few. The price of 19.99 on Android Market and the Apple App Store is a bit steep, considering the fact that this is essentially an annual subscription cost.

Once the 2012 season gets underway, you will need to pay more to download the updated version of the app for that season. However, got money, and got an Android phone or any of the iOS devices? Get this app!

The fun of watching the race unfold on the 3D map will be worth the entire moolah you rake up for this app.

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Formula1.com 2011
By: Formula1.com
Available for: Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and Symbian
Price: Free (on all platforms)
Download size: 1.1 MB to 2.3 MB

This is one app which is available on a wide variety of smartphone platforms. Chances are you will get this app for your phone. And the best part is that it is free. Before you can access the application, there is a one-time sign up process which you need to complete with Formula1.com.

The app starts with the latest race weekend details on the home screen, be it the in progress weekend or the next upcoming one. For those of us who are constantly confused when the race starts, this one shows all session start timings, both in the user's local time as well as the race location's local time.

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Click on the Live Timing tab, and this opens up the lap time leaderboard, with the option of reading text based commentary as well. Track data is available as well, with the info about Track Temp, Air Temp, wind speed, humidity and even wind source. Lap chart feature is only updated during the race. The lap chart attempts to graphically illustrate the difference in lap times between most drivers, but can be a bit daunting for most people at first.

Also available for instant access is the race weekend dates for the entire year. This is good news for those of us who want to book tickets for the Singapore Grand Prix! The drivers and constructors standings (championship points table) are also available for access.

While this app does not have the frills of the F1 2011 Timing App CP, the fact that this app is available on more smartphone platforms, and doesn't cost a thing, may well make this the preferred app for most F1 fans.

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ESPNF1
By: ESPN
Available for: Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Symbian
Price: Free (on all platforms)
Download size: 1.8 MB

One look at the ESPNF1 app and you tend to be amazed at the extremely clean interface, and the fact that it still manages to pack in so much information. Live race commentary, news updates, complete race season calendar, drivers and constructors championship tables and even an image gallery. On the home screen, you will usually get a countdown timer for the next race, with the news articles below it. These are the latest news items available.

One look at the ESPNF1 app and you tend to be amazed at the extremely clean interface, and the fact that it still manages to pack in so much information. Live race commentary, news updates, complete race season calendar, drivers and constructors championship tables and even an image gallery. On the home screen, you will usually get a countdown timer for the next race, with the news articles below it. These are the latest news items available.

The News tab takes you to more news articles as well as Features, which can be filtered by date, team or driver. The content here is immense, and some of the feature articles available for your reading pleasure are actually world class. The Calendar tab lists all the races of the season. Users can access the race commentary from here, by clicking on the race currently in progress. There are live timesheets during the race, commentary is available for all sessions (including practice sessions), photo gallery from the race weekend and all circuit details.

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The circuit details include current conditions, the profile of the racetrack, a historical lowdown on that particular circuit, how the Grand Prix has evolved at that racetrack and the schedule of the events during that race weekend this year.

This is a lot of information, something anyone with an interest in historical events would love to read up on.

This app is also available on three major smartphone platforms, and the price of FREE makes this a very good app to download.

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F1 2011 Live24 (also known as Livesports24 F1 Racing)
By: Genera Mobile
Available for: Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
Price: Free (on all platforms)
Download size: 1.1 MB to 1.6 MB

This is the app which is meant for the complete F1 fanatic. This has blended complete functionality and colourful graphics, along with a lot of features.

On the home screen there is a lot of stuff. Multiple boxes offer a lot of info. The first box shows the countdown to the race and the race updates when it goes live, the venue and the track weather conditions.

The second tab shows the date and time of the various sessions scheduled for that race weekend. Below that is the drivers championship standings box, with the driver's individual cars. You need to flick through this horizontal box to see the driver positions, signified by their cars.

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The navigation tabs are at the bottom of the page. Click on News and you get all the updates for the F1 world. Races tab has the schedule of races for the entire season. Click on an event, and that takes you to a page with detailed results from qualifying and the race sessions, circuit details as well as the weather conditions.

The image gallery is also available, and so are dedicated profiles for all individual drivers, complete with their career stats.

F1 2011 Live24 is a superb app, which offers a lot of info, in a very colourful interface may make this a favorite app for a lot of users.

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