There's something other than baking hot sunshine that is conspicuous by its absence in the winter months: the heady, adrenaline-inducing soap opera of Formula One.
True petrol-heads are currently enduring an annual period of cold turkey, in which the Formula One teams frantically scramble to design, build and test the gleaming carbon-fibre projectiles on which their hopes of 2013 glory will be pinned.
However, it's not long before a whole season's worth of kerosene-fuelled excitement will resume: the traditional curtain raiser in Melbourne takes place on 17 March, 2013. And your Samsung GALAXY Note II can help you to immerse yourself in the Formula One rollercoaster more deeply than ever before.
A classic F1 season on the Note II
Things couldn't be set up better for a classic F1 season: already, there are sub-plots galore. Can Lewis Hamilton's defection to Mercedes elevate that team to championship contenders, and will its head honcho Ross Brawn stay, given the advent of Toto Wolff from Williams?
Will the teams take ages to work out the vagaries of Pirelli's tyres again? Will teams that concentrated on car-development in the 2012 season suffer this year – or will the lack of rule-changes ameliorate that trade-off? Who will drive alongside Paul di Resta at Force India?
Answers to these burning questions, plus countless others that will arise throughout the season can be found from a wealth of specialist news sources accessible via the GALAXY Note II.
First off, there is a wealth of essential websites – and we all know how good the GALAXY Note II is when it comes to web surfing, with its ample 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display and super-fast quad core processor. Your first stop should be the metaphorical horse's mouth – the Official Formula One website. It's way better than the average sport's official site, with a great news section and some fascinating technical features. And there's a mobile version of the site.
The F1 section of the good old BBC's site is excellent, too, with a handy Gossip section bringing the latest F1 speculation from around the web. And our favourite independent F1 site is Planet F1. If you want the inestimable Martin Brundle's take on the new season, along with a wealth of features and news, Sky also has a great site. The blogosphere also has a keen interest in F1; our favourite blogs are the assiduously updated F1 Fanatic and, for a more tongue-in-cheek take, WTF1.
Essential F1 apps
Given F1's global popularity, it's not surprising that it is pretty well serviced by Note II-friendly Android apps – although you have to be a bit careful – several offer a mix of aggregated news and live updates, but their quality varies. That's not a problem if you're feeling rich: there's no doubt that the best Formula One app is F1 2013 Timing App – Premium (Soft Pauer). The only problem is that it costs an eye-watering £23.99. But it is officially licensed, and provides live track-positioning info for every Grand Prix session, on 3D circuit maps, and will let you follow your favourite driver.
Mind you, it's an awful lot cheaper than subscribing to Sky Sports. If you have Sky, then you'll be needing a copy of Sky Go, bringing all the Grands Prix to your mobile. And if you don't, then the BBC iPlayer will let you catch up with what happened in the races and qualifying on your GALAXY Note II. Both are free.
Of all the apps that aggregate news from various sources, and provide live info about all the practice, qualifying and race sessions, our favourite is Team F1 Free (2013) (Team BobK). It's ad-supported, but there's an ad-free version that costs a very reasonable £1.29. The motorsport bible, Autosport, also has an app , available for £2.99. And F1 Appedia (Tune Systems, Free), is also worth downloading, bringing a wealth of swiftly-updated race info to your fingertips.
Fun F1 stuff for your Note II
We all fancy ourselves as undiscovered driving talent, and what better way to confirm or dispel such notions than by playing a Formula One racing game. By far the best of which is Red Bull Augmented Racing Reloaded, which puts you behind the wheel of a 2011 RB7, for free. A must whether or not you follow Red Bull Racing.
You can show off your encyclopaedic knowledge of all matters Formula One by downloading Champion F1 Quiz (Tune Systems, Free). Plus there's even a free F1 widget that counts down to the next race. And you can bling up your GALAXY Note II in an F1 stylee by visiting the mobile version of the official F1 site (http://mobile.formula1.com/), heading to Galleries and selecting a race, at which point you'll be able to download a wealth of images to use as wallpaper.
Fantasy F1 on your mobile
Given that fantasy Formula One games are probably second only in popularity to fantasy football ones, it's a tad surprising that nobody makes a credible fantasy F1 app.
So you'll have to hit the web if you fancy being a virtual team boss. There are a bewildering number of fantasy F1 sites, and it can be tricky to tell which are the best, although scrutinising their rules and formats offers the best indication . Sky Sports Fantasy Formula 1 has the stamp of officialdom. Fantasy League F1 is perennially popular, and ProFantasy F1 has some interesting twists, like first-corner mini-leagues. Fantasy F1 League spices things up by inviting you to predict the top 10 for each race.
Hopefully, that you should set you up to enjoy a fine new Formula One season on your GALAXY Note II.
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