For many F1 fans who travel to races, the big story today will not be Autosport International Show but the withdrawal for FanVision from F1, due to inability to agree terms with FOM.

I bought my console in 2011 and it has been essential in contributing to my enjoyment. When you’re sitting out around the circuit, the device provided full video feed, stats and data about the session and a choice of commentary, including both BBC and Sky Sports, as well as the circuit commentary. There is currently no other way to get this information when at the track (unless you’re streaming the local TV service)

So are FOM taking this move because they are going to replace the service themselves? Have they seen another revenue opportunity and have a great replacement device? That’s unknown at the moment, but one suggestion from many on Twitter is that they will push their mobile app, for phones and tablets. Let us count the ways that won’t work!

  • Handset availability. Not everyone has a phone or device that can run these apps. The FanVision model worked as you could just hire it. No need to buy an expensive phone or data plan
  • Signal availability. Signal at F1 tracks is notoriously poor. Very, very few places have the infrastructure to allow 1000’s of people to access simple tools like Twitter or email, never mind a complex, data heavy video and audio app.
  • Data. Video and Audio – that’s a LOT of data. Even the stats only apps are heavy with data if anywhere near realtime. How many people have packages that will allow that? How many people have packages that will allow this when abroad without bankrupting them?
  • Battery Life. My phones can run out of battery just from using Twitter using a raceday. It would never last with running anything requiring heavy lifting.

If they are looking to replace the service with their own, FOM need to consider all of these before going down the app route instead of a specialised console. But something definitely needs to replace the tool, as for many, it is essential to them enjoying the race and they would not go to watch one without it.

Even drivers used FanVision and pit lane reporters/media will miss it too – it was the best way of getting UK commentary with ease. credit: McLaren Media