Guest Author - Christine Blachford
On the official Formula1.com website, thereís a section that allows you to watch live timing as the action is happening out on track. All the information about the cars during Free Practice sessions, qualifying and the race is fed through to your browser and it brings you closer to the action. It does require an email address registration but itís free, and Iím going to tell you why itís worth tuning in.
What Live Timing Is
Essentially, any car that posts a time out on track is logged and you get to see this information as it happens. So, at the start of a session all cars are registered as being in the pit lane, indicated by the driverís name in red. As they emerge, the name goes white, and then the sector times are logged. The drivers are listed with the fastest at the top, or the race leader on a Sunday. Drivers who have retired are listed as stopped and you donít need to follow their progress anymore. There is also information about the status of the track, ambient temperature and sometimes a limited commentary as well.
There isnít a lot of coverage of Free Practice to choose from, not here in the UK, anyway. Up until recently, we only had the live timing to rely on, although now a limited video feed has become available during race weekends. The two Friday sessions and early Saturday practice are the perfect situation to enjoy live timing. For a start, it helps to know who is out on track, and how many laps they are doing. It also gives you a good overview of who is running fast laps, and who is clearly working on setup.
For me, qualifying is what live timing was made for. With so many cars dashing towards the chequered flag in such a short space of time, itís essential to see whether each driver manages to beat the current pole leader, or at least escape the drop out zone. You can watch as the drivers are pushed down the grid and see who is eventually victorious.
Although itís likely you have more access to coverage of the race, it can still be handy to keep the live timing up as you watch. If you donít have the action on a TV screen near you, then itís a great substitute but it also helps to sometimes catch things that the cameras miss.
All in all, live timing can be a good addition to your viewing pleasure, or if needs be, an acceptable alternative.