Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

F1 TV Pro viewers will receive refunds for Azerbaijan GP broadcast faults

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Formula 1 Management will refund users of its official live streaming service F1 TV Pro for the faults which affected the broadcast of today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

F1 TV apologised on social media for the faults and said fans will be compensated.

“We are very sorry for the problems you have experienced with F1 TV today,” F1 TV stated. “We’re still actively investigating the issue and we will be refunding a proportion of subscriptions for those impacted over the coming days.”

Users will be contacted via email for details of how to receive their refunds.

Many users of the service contacted RaceFans to complain about the quality of the service during the weekend’s race.

Rob Wilson, who tried to access F1 TV from Mexico, said the service had been “downright awful” this weekend. “Of the 51 laps today F1 TV was working for around 20 of them.”

Several users reported the system froze and logged them out while they were trying to watch the race. “I missed the start today because I thought restarting my computer or logging out and in again would help, which it didn’t,” wrote János Henkelmann. John Neese added he “was logged in with an active TV Pro subscription, and the site still told me to sign in.”

FOM launched F1 TV Pro one year ago, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

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Author information

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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36 comments on “F1 TV Pro viewers will receive refunds for Azerbaijan GP broadcast faults”

  1. I had problems too in Poland.
    Start was ok but after 2 laps i had blackout :/

  2. Wow. So sorry for those affected. At least you didn’t miss too much.

    Nevertheless, F1 has had this issue all season long. Tata better get their stuff together

  3. Sky and BT can do live streamed sport seemingly quite easily, even in 4K. Not sure how F1 are failing so badly?

  4. On top of a refund I’ve asked to cancel my annual subscription. I don’t want to spend race when troubleshooting IT problems, I just want to watch the F1. Which I can do in Germany on RTL. I chose to pay for F1TV “Pro” to get a better commentary and no adverts, but I ended up missing even more of the action than usual. Since the same thing (logged out and/or subscription info missing reported by users globally) happened for both qualifying and race, I don’t have any confidence it will be resolved in a timely manner.

  5. F1TV should hire some professionals, their service is pure amateur hour right now. There are so many companies doing perfectly working live streams but they can’t seem to figure it out.

    Every time I want to watch a session I have to logout and login again to have the app show me the actual live session button. Often the app is telling me I have no internet connection, I have no clue why since my internet seems to work very well for every other app. I’ve followed all the suggestions from F1TV but it does not get better.

    There is a pretty large delay on the live streams so using their timing app is pointless since it’s full of spoilers.

  6. The funny part is that the free streaming sites don’t have any trouble.

    1. Exactly!!!
      I only could watch the start and then, the final 10 laps.
      But, most of the race I could see it in a free streaming site.

  7. It is a weird problem they have, probably due to some weird setup. I also missed about 30 laps on the main feed, it just came back when Bottas regained lead from Leclerc.

    However, my 3 other streams (data, tracker, pit lane) never missed a beat! They kept running in full HD even though the “main” session had the logoff/logon problem. So I had the audio coming from the driver tracker feed, and could see most of the main feed action from the pit lane feed.

    Have to see what kind of refund or offer they can give, my renewal is up on 8th of May, just before the next GP and I would hate to miss the additional info from the data and tracker. I never realised how poor picture of the entire race one has without the added info from those. Some previous races have been nail-biters because of that extra knowledge (one can follow drivers behind the top!), this race was still dull… even though the right driver won :-)

    1. just a guess… 4 dollar return on your subscription for this month.

  8. János Henkelmann
    29th April 2019, 0:46

    Wow, I was genuinely surprised when I read my name and the quote in the article!

    A big thank you for fighting for our “rights”, Keith! ;)

  9. From what I’ve read there hasn’t been a trouble free race weekend since they launched the service, which is quite appalling really, and if this weekend’s comments are anything to go by it’s getting worse.
    I’d been a subscriber for about 3 years for the Live Timing, but when Liberty Media changed it towards the end of last season so that you could only see about 10 cars on the screen at a time, that was the end for me. The mere fact that they thought it wasn’t important and the time taken to come up with a solution, told me that Liberty Media had no real understanding of what F1 fans really wanted.

    As a result I haven’t renewed my subscription and I have no intention of doing so. My impression is that Liberty Media are out of their depth in several areas.

  10. I am surprised they pretend to do it…

    Right now I have just questions…
    Will they reimburse everyone? Or?
    And how much will it be? Generous half-of-month (2 weeks) subscription cost, or will they count 2-3 missed hours and reimburse several Euro cents?

    And if I didn’t complain to their support?
    Because there was no point. Their support chat already had an acknowledgement of issues, and actually the last time I submitted a support ticket, I never even got the reply back…

    Let’s see of course, but I will be surprised if the refund is more than 1-5 Cents.

    1. Last refund was circa 4 bucks, if I remember correctly.

  11. I opened a support ticket yesterday during qualifying, requesting a full refund and comped year. Sent a reply during the race. Still nothing. The auto response email they sent said, “we will contact you within 24 hours.” It’s now closing in on 36 hours with zero response.

    This service has been unreliable for the entire year it’s been available. They only got the replay of the 2018 Azerbaijan GP up for premium subscribers this weekend. And even then, the premium features, such as driver onboards, were not made available.

    The ESPN feed, to which I also have access, has been flawless since they took over from NBCSN. And thanks to their title sponsor, it’s been streamed in 60Hz–the TATA feed is 30Hz–sans commercials. The only thing you gain access to are driver onboards (which are more of a novelty than anything else as you lose the commentary feed) and the pre-race press conferences.

    1. Your last bit isn’t quite correct. The ESPN feed is only so good now because the 2018 Australian GP was a cluster of a horrible stream and breaking from the race completely to show commercials every 5 minutes. It was only after the massive backlash to that did they fix the service and find a sponsor for ad-free broadcasts. Had that screw up not happened and everything went smoothly, ESPN’s race broadcasts would likely not be ad-free.

      Also, F1 TV also offers the pit-lane feed, which is really neat and an FX only audio option (which I seem to find myself using more and more).

      While I acknowledge F1 TV’s problems (and there are plenty), I’ve been a subscriber since September and Baku is the only race I’ve had trouble with. And, honestly, while I’d be happier if it did work, I still end up saving about $250 a year over finding a way to access ESPN.

  12. I do not watch the race live. The replay was available almost immediately. I had zero issues with the feed and was able to switch back between data, tracker and the replay without a problem.

    1. It has to be said that the replay function is possibly the single best feature of F1TV. Like, a fortnight ago, I decided I couldn’t be bothered to get up in time to watch the Chinese GP live. So I simply snored through the race (with my eyes closed, unlike yesterday) and watched the race when I felt like it. And it was good. There was nothing to remind me that this wasn’t the real deal, it just worked flawlessly.
      The same goes for qualifying last Sunday. The experience was even better than watching it live, as I was able to skip through the lenghty interruptions and didn’t have to watch Kubica and Leclerc crashing into the same wall dozens of times from different camera angles. Even better, every now and then, I like to pause the stream to jump back and re-watch a situation from an onboard perspective while eavesdropping on the radio communication between team and driver. If you do that while watching a session live, there is a non-zero risk of missing a crucial situation involving any of the 19 other drivers.

      This is to say that the offer does have its redeeming qualities. But some days, it sucks. Badly.

    2. Eric,
      Replays are wonderful i agree. But “F1 TV access” , for 26.99€ has replays. F1 TV pro charges us 64.99€ for live TV.

  13. I would not recommend f1tv pro to anybody who has another mean of watching the race. There’s still no casting option, it’s unreliable and provides next to no additional value (switching camera angles is so slow that it’s unusable, there’s no easy way to come back in time -i could not manage it live and it’s fiddly in replay- etc…)

  14. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    29th April 2019, 7:31

    Ironically, my experience with F1 TV Pro this weekend was excellent. I’ve been trying it for the first time this season, and while the first races were troublesome, yesterday was perfect. I watched the first 20 laps of the Azerbaijani GP live via the app (screen mirrored to my TV), then went away, and finished watching the race two hours after the actual finish.
    I think the stream quality scaled back once during the race, and went back to full quality within a lap. No disconnects or logouts whatsoever. I don’t use switching cameras etc. though, because it is slow and I trust the actual director’s cuts more than I do my own :-)

  15. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    29th April 2019, 7:37

    This is the problem with streaming on the internet. It is unreliable. Freeview or cable is far more reliable. And Freeview is something UK viewers will very likely already have without watching F1. First time i watched nowtv sky sports F1 at Canada 2017, at peak time when many users probably view it (5 minutes before the race start), The screen went totally blurred and pixelated until at least lap 50. You could not read anything and could hardly identify any car at all. NowTV has been ok since then but this happening made me think it was just shocking value. I contacted nowTV and they pretty quickly got back when I was requesting a refund. They said they would refund it. Which was my £10.99 week pass at the time. When I got back to them due to them not refunding me, i questioned them and they said that who told me had made a mistake and they were unable to do a full refund. Absolutely pathetic service. Many days of Emails later i did manage to convince them to refund me as i think it was unacceptable that I was initially told i would get it and then things change. It finally came eventually.

    Their service is very poor and i still don’t think it is good value with the £195 for the full season offer this year. The fact that freeview HD has been at least 1080i since 2009, it is pathetic that modern online streaming is only 720p. In fact, iplayer downloads that are 720p look a tiny bit better than this.

    I don’t know what the f1tv pro is like but if it costs a lot of money, it doesn’t sound worth it is it is intermittent.

    1. It’s only unreliable if the service is shoddy, like F1TV. The same goes for cable or freeview, so that’s no argument.

      There’s plenty of streaming services on the internet now, both VOD and Live Streaming, and most work flawlessly. Whether it’s the NFL, MLB, ESPN, UFC, or WWE, to name but a few examples of big names with millions of subscribers each, neither have had even remotely the issues F1TV had, and most executed hundreds of live streams every year for years now.

      There’s no inherent issue with live streaming and reliability. The technology is sound and reliable, the system of seeding and buffering works well, it’s just the complete ineptitude on display at F1TV is extraordinary and inexcusable. It’s either a lack of funding, or a lack of engineering, or maybe a little of both. But the performance has been unacceptable by any standard.

      Not just the streaming, to be honest. Their App is complete trash as well, for the last two races, I can’t even get it to work on an iPad Pro 11-inch. And as an iOS programmer myself, I don’t even see how you release an App that outright doesn’t work on an ecosystem with a handful of devices that is extremely easy to debug on.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        29th April 2019, 18:34

        what is it that causes nowTV tu buffer then? and why does it always seem to take a few seconds to get a decent quality image after this happens. Freeview doesn’t break up when you have more viewers from what I am aware. But I thought internet streaming can be effected by traffic. this has happened more than once that the picture quality on nowtv has got worse just before the race, and I would guess that is down to more viewers. This is why I see so many disadvantages to streaming on the internet. Maybe it is just my experience, but I think you are far more likely to get issues with internet speeds and reliability than freeview.

  16. Don frika del prima
    29th April 2019, 8:32

    I haven’t had a single session where everything worked perfect. I’m giving them one more gp if it doesn’t work like it should then I’m canceling my sub.

  17. Hi Keith,
    I think the reimbursement masks the grave nature of the issues at F1TV.
    Since the start of service I have been refunded 6 times. That’s 4 GPs last year (after which i stopped watching live, and only did replays) and 2 this year.
    F1TV have teething problems both technically and managerially – the leaders of those respective teams, nor Liberty media’s top dogs do not seem to care much about the plights of honest paying customers (~80 pounds).
    If they are unable to do it, why not change those responsible or the development teams? That is, ask a third party expert to help them with it?
    The community would be really grateful if you could use your journalistic prowess and provide voice to the fans, to find out the responsible and question them about the issues and planned changes to structure.

  18. It is funny, I watched the race on an illegal stream and it was perfectly fine all race.

    If people without budget can do it, what can competent people with billion dollar turnover do?

    1. They will concentrate on “digital rights management” features at the expense of paying customers. Amazon, Netflix et al have got it right – DRM yes, but never stop a paying customer. Companies who don’t get it and take their customers for granted will lose out. Not sure about Sky UK, but the German Sky Go is also a very poor service that sacrifices usability for DRM. It’s not even like they’re successful in stopping the pirates, who many people turned to this weekend.

      1. Exactly kartguy07, the problems are due to securing their business revenues. I give them one more race, if it doesnt get better i will go back to free coverage (in the Netherlands it’s the same as official F1 coverage) without the data, onboard and other goodies.

  19. One question for other subscribers…
    During qualifying, the data window showed the individual “segments of segment” times for each driver. Yellow, green, and purple for each. While the actual race was streaming for a couple laps, I noticed that the data window began displaying the tire usage instead of the segment performance. Is this normal for races? Who on Earth would rather see tire usage stats that occupy 50% of the screen? How do I get back to sector details? Anyone know?

    1. I couldn’t tell since i didn’t get the stuff working properly even once in all 4 precious races. If i tried to open more than one screen everything would miserabelystop, so mostly i swap between live and onboard and leave the data untouched. Especially on sundays!

  20. I had issues with qualifying. Didn’t bother trying for the race and watched it later.

    1. I get that, but don’t you see how crazy that is?

  21. Completely unacceptable service so far. But it’s strange… for Baku:
    – FP1: worked fine
    – Qually: absolutely nothing; nothing worked. Nothing. I went back to ESPN
    – Race: had to be elsewhere during the race. Replay worked fine.

    So, it seems that for non-important moments F1TV works. When it’s important it fails massively.

    I’ve kept the ESPN subscription because, after 4 races this year I have experienced zero race or qually using F1TV. I want to cancel cable / ESPN but daren’t because F1 has, so far, proven incompetent.


  22. One more thing:
    I tried to watch Baku qualifying and it told me I needed to subscribe. Because it was so ridiculously messed up last time I unsuccessfully tried, I thought “maybe I didn’t subscribe like I thought”. Went to subscribe. After their absolutely horrible UI / UE I got to the point “you already have F1TV Pro – do you really want another subscription?”. Well, no thankyou – back out of that, looking forward to watching. Nope. Look to why I can’t get coverage – “Status: User. Upgrade to watch”. Repeat circle experience.

    Some seriously poor design & development going on at F1 / Tata.

  23. And, finally, two points:
    1. I was going to cancel cable / ESPN. Instead I’m paying twice now with F1TV
    2., apparently, cares, whilst F1 (FOM, FIA, Liberty, whomever) don’t seem to. The “Support” link is a black hole.

    So, thanks to Racefans for trying to make this farce visible.

    Keith Crossley

  24. Net Insight has the technology to fix the problems

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