Budding superstar Charles Leclerc lifted the gloom over Maranello with back-to-back victories in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa and then at their home track Monza — ending a nine-year winless stretch for Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix. Now Leclerc will bid to make it a hat-trick of victories this weekend under the lights at the iconic Marina Bay circuit, but is likely to find things much much tougher. Sebastian Vettela four-time winner here and successful for Ferrari inwill arrive at Marina Bay looking for a much-needed boost to his fortunes following another miserable Sunday at Monza. Red Bull have been competitive here in the past and Max Verstappen will be hopeful of taking it to the big boys.
As the first race weekend of the season got underway many fans were more than a little disappointed to discover that the live timing page on the official F1 website had been stripped of most of its functionality.
But does the paid version offer a sufficient increase in functionality at a reasonable enough price to be worth it?
Pricing has been a major area of complaint with this app in years past. The new version, marketed by Formula One Digital Media instead of Soft Pauer, appeared with little fanfare shortly before the new season began but immediately distinguished itself with a substantial price cut.
A free offering remains, though as on the website you only get a basic leaderboard and text commentary. The paid version remains a one-year subscription.
The experience of using it is familiar from previous apps and does it a good job of presenting complicated and rapidly-changing data in an intelligible way. You get the full gamut of glitches: it fails to load, crashes mid-session, dumbly fails to respond to your taps and shows wildly incorrect information.
Throughout the Australian Grand Prix weekend it was unusable, and on the infrequent occasions when it did run the data stream was usually well behind the free website timing screen. Last week team principals admitted they had been surprised by the strength of reaction from fans against the dismal double points rule.
No doubt for some changes like this are enough to turn the off the sport completely. Factors like the inconveniences of not being able to follow the sport as well or as closely as they used to.
The gutting of the free live timing page and the huge shortcomings in the paid version price cut notwithstanding is another example of how those who are supposed to be marketing the sport are getting it wrong at the risk of alienating its fan base.