Fans of Formula 1 in India have, for many years now, been able to watch F1 races live on Star Sports, and even stream them on the Hotstar app in recent years. However, 2023 brings a significant shake-up in this system, with Star (and Disney+ Hotstar) choosing not to renew broadcast and streaming rights for F1 in India, following a difference in perceived valuation of the property. This means that fans of F1 in India now have only one official option to watch F1 races live – the F1 TV app with the Pro subscription.
Although the F1 TV app has been around for a while, and has provided global access to F1 races and other content, the subscription service was not made available in India till recently. The F1 TV Pro subscription was launched in India in February at a starting price of Rs. 2,999 for one year, although it is now available for Rs. 2,499 per year or Rs. 299 per month.
This is considerably more expensive than Disney+ Hotstar, which is priced at Rs. 1,499 per year for the Premium plan and offers much more content than just F1. So, the F1 TV Pro subscription is undoubtedly an expensive offering for Indian F1 fans. However, the app promises a lot more in terms of features and content beyond just live streaming the F1 races. Here’s everything you need to know about the F1 TV app and the F1 TV Pro subscription.
F1 TV Pro and Access subscription plans
As mentioned, the F1 TV Pro subscription is currently priced at Rs. 2,499 per year, or Rs. 299 per month, in India. Naturally, the annual plan offers better value for fans, who will gain access to the entire 2023 season of F1 at a single price. While the price shows differently on certain platforms, I’ve found that prices are reflecting in Indian Rupees on both iOS and Android, so you might want to use your smartphone to sign up for the subscription.
The ‘Pro’ subscription provides access to live stream all sessions of F1 races, including the practice and qualifying sessions, along with live on-board cameras and team radio for all twenty drivers in each race. You can also live stream support series races from F2, F3, and the Porsche Supercup, which take place alongside F1 on select race weekends.
In addition, you can also view race replays and highlights for F1 and support series, and watch shows, documentaries, and archives. Live timings and data are also available, along with real-time telemetry, driver maps, and tyre usage history.
Apart from the Pro subscription, there is also a more affordable ‘Access’ subscription on offer, priced at Rs. 1,629 per year, or Rs. 239 per month. This plan does not let you live stream F1 and support series races, offering limited content such as replays, documentaries, and archives, as well as live race timings and data. Given the lack of alternatives to live stream races, I wouldn’t recommend this plan at all; it’s worth spending a bit more and getting the ‘Pro’ subscription.
F1 TV: Platforms supported
The F1 TV app is available on many different platforms, including smartphones and tablets, as well as smart TVs, streaming devices, and web browsers. The app is available for iOS and tvOS through the App Store, Android and Android TV devices through the Google Play Store, Amazon app store for Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast platforms. The app itself is free to download, but requires a paid subscription to access most features and content.
Once you’ve subscribed, you can log in and access the subscription from all your devices where you have your account logged in. F1 TV states that the live stream can be accessed on only one device at a time, although the app itself can be accessed on up to six devices simultaneously to let you view timings and data along with the live stream. However, I have been able to access the live stream on multiple devices simultaneously, so users might be able to take advantage of this ‘loophole’ for now.
F1 TV: Streaming features and content
The key draw of F1 TV is live streaming of the Formula 1 races, including practice and qualifying sessions across race weekends, as well as pre-race and post-race shows. All races for the season will be available to watch on the service. Viewers will also be able to tune in to press conferences and grid walks produced and presented by F1 for the F1 TV app.
Additionally, any support series races taking place alongside F1 races on particular weekends will also be available to watch live on the F1 TV app with the Pro subscription. Notably, this includes access to the Formula 2 championship, the main support series for F1. For the 2023 Formula 2 season, there are two Indian drivers on the grid – Jehan Daruvala is driving for 2022 F2 Constructor’s champions MP Motorsport, while Kush Maini competes in his rookie season in F2 for Campos Racing. This should likely pique the interest of Indian motorsports fans.
F1 TV has its own presenter team, which notably features long-time F1 analyst Will Buxton, along with Laura Winter, Lawrence Baretto, and Rosanna Tennant. Fans of Formula 1: Drive to Survive will immediately recognise Buxton, who has appeared prominently in the show.
The commentary team features Alex Jacques, former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, James Hinchcliffe, and expert contributions from former driver David Coulthard. Importantly, fans can switch the coverage and commentary for Formula 1 races through the app itself and opt to tune into Sky Sports F1’s international coverage, led by David Croft and Martin Brundle. For those who previously watched F1 on Star Sports or Hotstar, this will feel a lot more familiar.
A big additional feature is the ability to switch to data and telemetry including tyre use per driver, interactive maps with the position of each driver on the circuit, and individual helmet or car cameras for each of the 20 drivers in every race. The latter views also provide unfiltered access to the driver radio, letting viewers tune in to live conversations between F1 drivers and their race engineers on the pit wall. Usefully, you can use a multi-device setup to be able to have some of these screens and views running simultaneously alongside the regular broadcast for a more immersive and interactive viewing experience.
For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2023 hub.