Shortly after I received an email from Formula 1 offering access to their F1 TV service at €64.99 for a year, I did not hesitate to snap up the offer and immediately tune into this much anticipated ‘new era’ of consuming the sport live without reverting to piracy and illegal streams, at a surprisingly nominal cost.
My first impressions when logging into the F1 TV dashboard are that it is all quite minimalist, with a beta look but not in an offensive way… more like: we have moved into a new house and the essential furniture is there but no frills yet, but come in any way.
Immediately I paid I was given access to the site with no fuss.Thereafter plugged into the FP1 stream from Barcelona with English commentary (very cool if you live in Germany and speak English) and it did pretty much as it said on the tin: live video stream with ability to switch to the onboard of any car in the field and listen in on their radio.
The concept oozes potential for exposing Formula 1 to a broader virtual community with anticipated plugins such as chatrooms, forums, social media etc.
The only problem I had was that the stream froze far too often. It would run for a couple of minutes then freeze, sometimes restart after several seconds or simply go black and requiring a web page refresh.
Considering I am on a 400mbs pipe delivering around 360mbs via ethernet to my PC and have no problem streaming highest resolution Netflix, Amazon Video, You Tube etc. So I am presuming its a bandwidth or whatever issues F1 TV side which on the first day of such a big launch is acceptable.
In a nutshell, glad this concept is here and impressed with the way they have delivered the ‘first instalment’ of the service, now I look forward to an uninterrupted stream as well as bells and whistles such as all the other sessions that FOM televise on a race weekend, starting with Formula 2 sessions and of course load up those archives dating back to 1950!
Applause for F1 TV getting out a comprehensive Q&A that answers most of my questions…
The launch of our new F1 TV service this weekend has been greeted with huge enthusiasm – and inevitably with quite a few questions as well…
The tech team have mentioned that a small number of customers experienced intermittent buffering issues during playback today. When the tyres hit the tarmac for the first time, they always take a while to warm up. We’ve got the team working hard to put those right and we hope you’ll join us for a great weekend of racing over the next few days. In the meantime, full replays of both sessions are now available (in countries where rights permit) – including all onboard cameras, and unedited team radio.
Content Questions – what can you watch?
Q: Can you see FIA press conferences on F1 TV?
A: Currently highlights of press conferences are posted to F1.com. In future, where appropriate, these will be added to F1 TV.
Q: I can see online we have full replays of the race and qualifying. There are highlights of FP1 and FP2. Is there a plan to add full replays for practice sessions soon?
A: Yes, the plan is to include full replays of all sessions (FP1, FP2, FP3, Qualifying, Race) from Spain onwards.
Q: Are onboard camera’s included in the replays?
A: Not right now, but this feature will be coming soon.
Q: Why can’t I find a certain race in the archive?
A: With such a rich history of races, digitising the entire F1 archive is taking us a little while longer than expected… but we will get there… keep checking back as more races become available.
Q: Why can’t I watch the driver tracker / data feed / other streams?
A: We have launched with the international feed and F1TV is the only place you can watch every onboard camera – watch this space for more channels in future.
Feature questions – does the service do this?
Q: When I click on the Live Stream, can I replay from the start?
A: Yes you can. Simply start the stream, and you can go back to the start of the race.
Q: Is there a feature where we can stop spoilers coming through?
A: For Videos that are still on the homepage there are no spoilers. Once an item is added to the 2018 season list or archive we list the podium in title / description.
Q: When I change to Onboard camera view I don’t hear the commentary anymore?
A: You can select the commentary option using the audio settings icon. Onboard camera audio defaults to team radio.
Q: Why can’t I view more live timing data?
A: We will be improving the service with more great features in the months to come, but in the meantime you can access the Live Timing service in the F1 App or on F1.com at no extra cost as part of your subscription.
Q: What quality will the live race be streamed in?
A: We will be broadcasting in HD 1080p.
Billing and payment questions
Q: I am trying to purchase a subscription. My card and billing address are registered in the country I am trying to subscribe from. I am getting an error message ‘You’ll need to subscribe from within the country you plan to use your F1 TV Access Annual subscription’
A: When you subscribe, we check that your payment details are for the country you have selected and that you are subscribing from an IP address within the same country. VPN’s are not allowed. Please note that we only accept Visa and Mastercard at present. Pre-paid Visa cards will not be accepted.
Q: I have completed all relevant fields in personal and payment details and it’s saying there is an error. I am getting the following messages: “The following fields are required, please correct and add information: There was an error with your credit card information. Please check your information and try again…”
A: Please remove any special characters in any of the fields. This includes ‘ . –
Additionally, it may mean that your bank has rejected the payment so if there are no characters, please check with your bank to find out the reason for failure.
Q: When will the service be available on other platforms? Why can’t I watch on app / Connected TV / console / etc?
A: Apps will be launching soon – watch this space.
Q: When will you launch apps, on Roku, Amazon and other devices?
A: We will be launching apps and on Amazon soon. Roku and other platforms will be released throughout 2018 and beyond.
Q: Why can’t I get F1 TV Pro in my country?
A: We have commercial agreements in place that restrict broadcasting in certain territories. We will expand the availability to other countries as time goes on, however there are no guarantees that your country will be included.
Q: Why is there no English commentary in Belgium?
A: Due to existing rights agreements, we cannot offer English commentary in Belgium.
Q: I have subscribed and logged in but can’t see anything and I can’t load video. Why?
A: Not all browsers are supported. Please visit our full FAQs for supported browsers. If you have Chrome, please use this in the first instance.
Let us know how you progress with F1 TV and feel free to share any other related feedback in the comments section below.