FanVision announces F1 exit

2013 F1 season

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FanVision will not continue in Formula One in 2013 after failing to agree terms with Formula One Management.

A FanVision representative told F1 Fanatic: “We have, for some months, been trying to find the basis of an agreement between FanVision and FOM in order to continue providing the service in F1 in 2013.

“Unfortunately it is now clear that we are not going to be able to agree terms with FOM and very reluctantly we have to confirm that we won’t be in F1 in 2013. It’s a big blow for us.”

FanVision, formerly Kangaroo F1, allows spectators to purchase handheld devices through which they can watch video footage of race sessions and follow live timing and commentary during race weekends. They also supply their sets for NASCAR, NFL and some golf events.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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63 comments on “FanVision announces F1 exit”

  1. Unfortunate… I found the service pretty good both times I used it… But I’m not convinced the business model makes sense any more.

    I’m going to the Spanish GP this year but I wasn’t planning to get a Fanvision device as I can get most of the info I’d want on mobile app, tablet, etc.

    1. @malarkey But that would be very expensive for tourists who are on roaming. All good and well if you’re at your home race, but this will hurt a lot if you’re abroad. This especially hurts those going to non-English speaking countries who greatly benefit from UK commentary.

      1. Surely it’s time that Bernie insists we have WiFi at each circuit – relatively small cost (certainly compared to all the other insistences he has to make the circuits fit for corporates).

        1. Thousands of people all using the same wifi? I’m not sure how smoothly that would work. Nice idea though.

          1. It worked during the Olympics

          2. Yeah, it’s a bit of a challenge, but by no means impossible. I’ve worked on a couple of wireless projects of this scale, and its just all about preparation, which is easy for an F1-type event.

        2. The point is, if it ain’t broke why fix it? FanVision has been providing a fantastic experience for race fans locally and globally. Why not help them continue rather than screw them out of business? Surely they were not any drain on Bernie’s millions?

      2. Yes that is something to be careful about. It can run up large data bills.

        However for EU travellers within EU this isn’t so expensive any more since last years new regulations. On my package I can now use my home data allowance when roaming across Europe for just £3 for each day I use it abroad – I think most UK networks offer this kind of package now.

        Obviously other people would need to check with their phone provider.

        The Wifi suggestion is a good one. I think they had a wifi network at the London Olympics site.

        1. For me, they were always useful. I’m a non-European F1 fan (from Brazil actually) and I used to get one of them when I went to a race (not counting the Brazilian GP that is). I know people are saying that they now use they own devices and apps, but in my case, the data bill would be ridiculous if I used the international roaming rates, so I can honestly say that I will miss FanVision.

        2. I agree with that about the newest EU-regulation on DATA (and call) roaming. I noticed that calling a phone in NL is now cheaper doing it on roaming than from my Czech home network (one of the more expensive EU countries for mobile it seems)!

    2. Yep, iPad is an alternative but does not have BBC commentary and also global roaming costs an arm and leg!! BRING BACK FANVISION PLEASE !!!!

  2. This is really not good at all for the fans!! I love my fanvision, without it you lose out on so much info and struggle to know what is going on. Apps/Mobile data are no good, there is never enough coverage to pull the data in on raceday. Fanvision was a lifesaver!

    1. Wifi just needs to be added to circuits. It is very easy and cheap to do.

      1. You’d think it would be fairly expensive given the size of a modern day F1 circuit. Also, FOM would never pay, so an additional cost for circuits.

      2. Aren’t the circuits already equipped with huge bandwidth anyway ? The teams must have huge data networking requirements. Adding wifi for spectators couldn’t be that difficult.

        1. @marlarkey Not all of them even provide free wifi at the media centre, never mind the rest of the track.

          1. @journeyer I’m talking about what they could do not what they have done in the past.

            Providing wifi access points around the circuit is not the issue… that bit is easy to install. The issue is providing sufficient bandwidth to the outside world and that will already be provided for to meet the requirements of all the teams, media, FIA, etc. So the difficult bit is covered, all it needs is for the circuits to do the easy bit.

            It can be done and in fact it was done at the London Olympics for 250k spectators covering a similar area as a GP circuit. All it needs is the will to do it.

          2. @marlarkey A good point was brought up when I proposed this elsewhere. Can FOM set the system up in such a way that people at the circuit can get this information… while keeping it away from everyone else? Fanvision worked on UHF (thus keeping the Internet people away); this may be trickier to implement if they use the Internet/wifi…

      3. You couldn’t even get good Wifi in the Paddock Club at Silverstone this year…

    2. Heath (@heathcollinson)
      11th January 2013, 5:28

      Yep, not happy at all … FanVision was fantastic for F1 fans trackside, and for me was a must have to really follow the action rather than mindlessly watch cars drive past. I really hope they can sort something out because without it id be less likely to attend live grands prix and just watch it on TV

  3. Hope that plan works. But signal has never been good at any races I’ve been at, so data is rarely available to be reliable, my battery would run out and I can’t afford to pay for the amount of data that would be needed to get the info. I much prefer a dedicated system that works, lasts and has a fixed cost!

  4. That sucks. I chose not to get one at Suzuka in 2011 and suffered for it. Picked one up in Korea for the next race, and it was invaluable, especially for those long, and sometimes boring, practice sessions. BBC Five Live and every on-board camera made it worthwhile, especially when something was happening on the other side of the track. (And yes, I agree @journeyer, some races are too expensive/too difficult to worry with roaming on the phone.)

  5. Is Bernie still wary of techno wizardry after the failed f1 digital circus? Or just greedy for inflated fees which the world can’t meet these days? Who knows. Like many other perplexing decisions, fans will have to assume the powers that be have some twisted logic that they’re happy with, and sod the plebs in the stands.

    The most telling thing that this was a great service however is that every team had at least one fanvision unit strapped to the pitwall, despite the FOM TV feed on their screens. Ditto every pitlane reporter.

    Maybe a case of “we’re doing it badly, so nobody else should do it well” by FOM? Wouldn’t be the first time…

    1. My guess is @hairs, its a simple case of the FOM fees being to high to make it a business deal worthwhile for both sides.

    2. Why do you automatically assume that FOM is the blame for FanVision leaving Formula 1? No details of the contract between the two parties are offered, so for all you know, FanVision made a series of increasingly-unrealistic demands.

      But, no – because FanVision offers a serive to fans, and because that service will not be available in 2013, FOM must be to blame.

      1. My comment is based on FOM’s known behaviour re: fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, and income control.

        But I suppose you’re free to assume that tiny little fanvision, who started their business in f1, were trying to bully the world’s toughest negotiator, who regularly screws over governments, into an unrealistic contract if you like…

        1. I didn’t say that. I said that you can’t assume FOM were to blame simply because a contract fell apart. For instance, FanVision could have been in negotiations with FOM for months, and asked FOM to give them a definitive answer one way or another – but FOM had to say no, because the Concorde Agreement has not been signed, and so coming to an arrangement with FanVision could complicate things. Or Rolex, the sport’s new timing provider, could have wanted a cut of FanVision’s revenues that FanVision were unwilling to share, and so they asked FOM to talk Rolex around, only for Rolex to refuse to budge.

          Without knowing the circumstances of the deal breaking down, you’re in no position to assume one party is more responsible than the other. You point to FOM’s actions when it comes to fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, and income control as evidence of their wrongdoing, except that FanVision isn’t involved in fees for tickets, concessions, races, paddock access, advertising, or income control, so how can FOM’s action in the past be representative of the way they dealt with an entirely different supplier?

          1. I said that you can’t assume FOM were to blame simply because a contract fell apart.

            While I agree, I think it’s a fair bet that FOM wanted a lot more money from them. This is simply going on past experience. FOM always want to increase prices, and would rather loose something than forgo their increase.

            There may be another reason, but IMHO this is the most probable.

          2. It’s representative if the way FOM has approached every supplier in its history is the same; ie demand for unrealistic amounts of money.

        2. FanVision is one of the best innovations to F! fans, especially to people that watch at tracks in other countries, the BBC commentary is essential to provide translated coverage per se. Whatever the reason for the breakdown, FOM would be smart to sort out the relationship because they will loose my support, and that of others I am sure, if they do not. A bit of a David/Goliath

  6. Such a shame to see this invaluable service being denied to fans. I have been to Grands Prix with and without the fanvision. I made the mistake of thinking that I could get updates at Silverstone on my phone – but the sheer number of people there on my network meant that getting 3G signal was nearly impossible. At least at Silverstone, you can get 5live radio coverage, which is not possible in other countries. The German equivalent radio station was ok (if you speak German) but half way through a practice session, they would start playing music! 5Live was always there to listen to on the FanVision in any country!

  7. It’s a shame. Everyone in the pitlane used it, mostly journalists, and it will be surely missed. But I wonder whether FOM are thinking of making profit of their own by replacing FanVision with their own service? Anyway, It’ll be difficult to better FanVision’s service.

    1. Is that a real photo? If so, LMAO.

      1. It most certainly is. HRT used them to save the cost of monitors…

  8. Oh this sucks. My co-worker and I rented one for the USGP and loved it. The screen resolution was good and the sound was good and the features were good. Too bad for us, I guess.

  9. FOM screwing over ticket holders again? I wonder if they’re really this dim or they have another plan for a similar service.

  10. That’s a blow for race going fans in my book. Having attended my first race for several years at Spa in 2010 I could see lots of people using them, and would try and peer over people’s shoulders to see what was going on when there was no track action in front of us. For subsequent trips to Monza and Montreal in 2011 and 2012 respectively they were a must have, though it did help splitting the cost four ways with my friends. It was worth it to have access to commentary alone, and it certainly helped to follow the action and occupy time whilst nothing was happening on track.

    Yes, if Wi-Fi becomes more prevalent at circuits then they would eventually become outmoded, but I can’t see that happening for a few more years yet. Delivering a reliable and fast enough service for 100,000 fans cannot be too easy/cheap and I suspect that Bernie will say it’s up to the circuits themselves to provide such a service. With the amount he charges them to host a race in the first place they’d probably be looking to keep extra costs down wherever they can.

    1. They did it at the London Olympics… 250k spectators spread across a site similar in size to a GP circuit.

      Had a reliable rock solid signal the entire duration.

  11. Ridiculous decision from FOM there. Going to the Italian GP and got GA tickets based on the fact that I could wander round and use the Fanvision. Its just typical of the archaic business model of Bernie to get rid of something interactive such as this. Its a wonder it got going in the first place to be honest though. The sooner he gets put in jail, the sooner we can get a forward thinker in the job who will embrace modern technology.

  12. Wow, that’s a shame. I found the onboard channels and BBC radio feed to be an invaluable part of every GP where I’ve been able to rent it.

    Wonder what happens to the fans who’ve already purchased the actual device in hopes of using it at future F1 races. Reckon they’d be able to return it for a refund? Or are they SOL?

    1. Good point, I know Fanvision were pushing people to buy these and if you are lucky enough to be able to go to multiple races made sense to buy outright and then just subscribe for the races you were attending. I doubt they will allow people to return them.

  13. Gutted!

    Used it at Spa this year and thought was fantastic, especially as posted to me in UK before going. Going to Italy this year and that has scuppered my viewing plans….I’m on a PAYG with Tesco (O2) & the tariff is too much to follow by phone e.g. timings and stream audio (5 live) etc

    Is there a replacement by another provider as if not I don’t get FOM. We the fans pay a lot to follow the sport and its only us that will be disadvantaged and they will lose revenue with no replacement?



  14. John Bergqvist (@)
    10th January 2013, 19:09

    Surely a bit of an over-reaction right now, unless/until it’s confirmed that there definitely WON’T be a replacement? FOM might start producing units in-house or use another supplier, you never know?

    1. @john-bergqvist It’ll unlikely be in time for this season. And there’s no guarantee it’d be as good as or better than Fanvision.

      1. John Bergqvist (@)
        11th January 2013, 9:40

        Pessimist. The world feed in HD came from nowhere for 2011, that took us all by surprise.

  15. It was a good piece of equipment. But why did it cost so much more at the British GP to what it cost at some other European races?
    Whilst perhaps not having a live picture feed, the F1 mobile phone app that the guy next to me in Interlagos was running was pretty impressive. Leaderboard, times, splits, tyres, circuit map etc. But I guess it would be expensive to use it whilst not in your home country.

  16. I am not rich to get this ****

  17. I gave it a try in Singapore last year and even my teenage kids weren’t intersted in fiddling with it. The line to return the free trial units on Saturday was a lot longer than the one for picking them up. The big screens at that track were good eenough but I understand that tracks might not be as good.

    That said, just because I didnt like it doesn’t mean that it shouldnt exist. Surely it costs Bernie absolutely nothing to provide the feed to FV so even if he only charges them a quid it’s a quid he got for nothing. Seems pretty silly to me. Or is it just one of his bargaining games.

  18. Not sure why people above are blaming FOM for this as it was the FanVision people who opted to discontinue covering F1, Not as if FOM forced them out.

    As I understand it one of the problems the past few years has been that they haven’t been able to shift enough FanVision units to offset there cost’s, They did reduce prices last year but it still wasn’t enough it seems.

    Speaking to someone at FOM they have no plans to create there own service.

    1. it was the FanVision people who opted to discontinue covering F1, Not as if FOM forced them out

      Unless you have some further knowledge of what happened then what are you basing this one?

      FanVision said they were unable to agree terms. That does not tell us whether either, both, or neither side was imposing unreasonable demands.

    2. As I understand it one of the problems the past few years has been that they haven’t been able to shift enough FanVision units to offset there cost’s…

      They were sold out at the USGP. Not sure about others.

    3. To me it seems this might be a bit of 2 things coming together. First of all, its likely that Fanvision did not have enough rental of the units to make it worthwhile the cost for running the service and paying the FOM licences.
      And on the other hand, its well possible that FOM is not that interested in lowering licences to try and keep them in business at races, probably in line with having the solid and quite widely used timing app (which got added more and more features) which, combined with the wide spread use of smart devices, and lower priced for data-exchange, might offer a more interesting route to see people investing in instead.
      The fact FOM is not planning to make the service available by themselves does point to that direction.

  19. Well this is disappointing. Attending the Melbourne GP over the last few years on only a general admin ticket, FanVision allowed me to roam the circuit and find the best (and often least crowded) places to watch the race without tying me to a jumbo screen. Add to that the multi-view and replay abilities, I though it was invaluable.

    1. 100% agree with this.

      Some of the best viewing spots at circuits do not have big screens, such as turn 7 at Singapore (where almost all of the overtaking there takes place). Also, at a lot of circuits big screens are scarce and can be too small or have poor picture quality.

      Once again FOM show their contempt for the fans that attend Grand Prix races. It appears that they are trying to make the race-going experience progressively worse.

  20. I haven’t used any of the newer ones but I used the old version at a couple of NASCAR races years ago. It was cool but IDK I wouldn’t purchase a unit only rent it (and from talking to a sales rep at the track they barely break-even on rentals while they made their money on people actually buying the unit).

    I remember hearing a year or two ago about some issues that they had during their contract renewal with NASCAR but it appears that they must’ve gotten it settled because they’re still here.

  21. What a shame. I’ve never used the service at a race, I can get by with my phone but many will struggle, wonder if FOM will see about an alternative?

  22. The problem is simple: Bernie doesn’t understand media. He gets TV, to some extent limited to a 1960s/70s model of viewing, but understands nothing at all about gaming, social networking, data and anything-anywhere access. The man is in his 80s and arrogant enough to dismiss his young fan-future out of hand. F1 is going to die in the medium term, but not before Bernie dies very rich.

    Or maybe Bernie just wants a hollow, glitter-ball product for the East and Middle East….he will LIVE to regret that decision.

  23. I used a Fanvision device for the first time this year and found it pretty hand to keep track of laptimes. It was also quite invaluable at the end of FP2 when the 5Live team encouraged me to “seek shelter immediately” right before the heavens opened up and the grandstands emptied. I’ll miss them.

  24. A real shame for fans!

  25. So bloody annoyed to read this, I bought one last year in readiness to use at a couple of races this year and have only just seen the story that they have lost the contract…… Ecclestone you are a nightmare, you have a great product which you price in such a way tat the ordinary punter gets stuffed all the time, time for a change at the top, the sooner the better.

  26. Is the F1 app really all we are getting to replace this? I’m heading to Monza in September and hope to use a tablet on 3G to provide information.
    Is there anything other than the F1 app worth investing in? If there’s nothing else then I might as well just pay the subscription for the F1 app now and get some decent use out of it instead of just subscribing for Monza in September.

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