Welcome to 2016!

Happy New Year!

The site is now open ready for the 2016 season – this will be our 6th season and hopefully the biggest one yet, I am aiming to have over 4,000 active teams competing.

The full driver and team line up has not yet been confirmed but it is pretty likely to be complete based on this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Formula_One_season

The main team news is that the Haas F1 team is new to the sport and Renault have bought out the Lotus Team.

Regards drivers we will have Esteban Gutiérrez and Jolyon Palmer joining the grid.

I will do a brief rundown of prospects for the new season shortly.

Good luck if you enter!

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Malaysia Review

Well not many people predicted Mercedes being beaten on merit quite so soon into the new season!

Ferrari looked to have good pace in the longer runs during practise and that proved to be the case as well as the fact they could get the most out of the softer tyre and not suffer from high degradation.

Regardless of Mercedes rather odd strategy to pit so early on and not use the faster option (softer) tyre, Ferrari still look as though they had the pace overall to win.

The question now is was that a bit of a fluke or can they repeat it?  Certainly the heat in Malaysia helped as it meant Mercedes could not get the tyres to last long enough to make the softer tyres really work for them.

The next race in China is crucial as the track is similar in many ways to Malaysia, but it is likely to be at least ten degrees cooler.

Only time will tell, but Ferrari seem to be at least the clear second best team right now and can possibly go on to really challenge Mercedes now.

Further back Williams look to be cementing their position as the third best team with a fight between Red Bull and Toro Rosso for the lower points places.

McLaren made a good step forward and can possibly look to score the odd point or two if the races are weather affected or there’s a high attrition rate.

 


2015 Pre Season Testing – What we know

With the final testing now completed, we have a very rough idea of where the various teams stand with their car development and who may have the upper hand.

Obviously Mercedes are once again the clear favourites – they were able to post the fastest times near the end of the testing on the “slower” soft tyres, whilst the quickest teamson the “super softs” were about a tenth of a second slower.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much quicker Mercedes are for a variety of reasons, but if you assume the “super softs” are about half a second a lap quicker – which seems to be the case based on the times we have seen, then Mercedes are just over half a second a lap quicker than Williams and Ferrari.

This means they are not going to dominate as they did in 2014 as they were a second a lap quicker in qualifying at the Barcelona circuit, so the deficit has been nearly halved.  It’s not as simple as this however as we don’t know what fuel loads and set-ups were being used, but the deficit is certainly likely to be smaller than in 2014.

As for the other teams, it looks like Williams and Ferrari are going to be the main challengers to Mercedes, with Williams possibly being the stronger of the two teams.  Williams have been working hard to try to hide their true pace, doing a lot of race distances and not so much work on qualifying and shorter stints, whilst Ferrari have gone a bit more aggressively for lap time rather than distance.

McLaren have had a lot of problems with their new car, partly due to the relative lack of recent experience with their new engine partner Honda.  Lack of laps completed means I expect them to struggle for pace and reliability early in the season but I expect them to develop the car more than any other team during the season meaning they may challenge for podiums and even the odd win by the latter stages of the season.

I haven’t mentioned Red Bull as they are something of an unknown factor this season, as they have also been trying to hard to mask their true potential.  They could well challenge Mercedes under certain conditions, ie damp track, certain circuits etc.

Of the rest no team will challenge for wins or probably even podiums but Sauber appear to have made some good progress and may be the “best of the rest” in 2015.

My advice if you are picking a team would be to ignore both Mercedes drivers as they are pricey and unlikely to do as well as last season, but if you choose Mercedes as one of your components you are guaranteed some good points.

Williams will probably deliver good points as will Red Bull and both are quite good value to fill up your components ie aero, chassis and engine.

From a driver point of view Daniil Kvyat is a bargain as he is priced based on his performance from last season, ie when he drove the relatively poor Toro Rosso.  Now he is at Red Bull he should score regular points and maybe even the odd podium.

Bottas is pretty good value if you expect Williams to be challenging Mercedes and he should improve this season as a relatively new driver compared to his team-mate Massa, who may decline as he is getting near the end of his career.

Raikkonen had a bad season last year and represents good value if you think the new Ferrari will be competitive and to the Finn’s liking.  Bit of a risk that one though!


2015 Season Predictions

I’ve had a few people comment on how the £100M budget for 2015 doesn’t go very far.  I did consider raising it or revaluing some of the drivers and teams but decided it was too late to do this as a lot of people have already picked their teams.

But I’d like to give some advice, although my predictions often go awry you may want to take them with a pinch of salt!

Based on what we’ve seen so far in pre-season testing, Mercedes still appear to have the dominant package overall.  However, they don’t seem to be as dominant as 2014 so they aren’t good value for money.  With over 50% of those voting on the site thinking that Hamilton will be champion for 2015 you’d think he might be worth having in the team, indeed over half the teams have picked him and he is the most popular driver.

But he’s also the most expensive at £38.4M which is well over a third of the total budget available

I expect that Hamilton may well win the title again but even if he does it’s unlikely to be as dominant as 2014 was as Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull for starters all seem much closer in testing.  For this reason I would say Hamilton is not good value for money but Alonso (less than half the cost at £16.1M) and  Vettel at £16.7M are both better value.  Jenson Button at £12.6M also offers potential value but how will McLaren fare with their new engines?

A real bargain is Daniil Kvyat as he is only £1M due to last season’s lack of points, but now driving a front running car he is likely to score a lot of points for that £1M so is good value.

In the engine/aero/chasses department, Mercedes cost almost double the cost of any other team and so don’t represent good value.

If you believe that McLaren will take a major step forward with Honda power then they are good value at only £9.1M and Ferrari too will be worth having if they can make improvements over a dismal 2014 performance.

Whatever you choose, good luck!

Much bette


2015 Season

Just a quick update as I’ve been neglecting this for some time.

The Fantasy F1 site will be running for 2015, however, I am aware of some other sites having had to close due to threats of legal action.

The rights to F1 have been sold by the FIA to Formula One World Championship Limited and they have threatened legal action against other sites running a fantasy F1 competition.

As my site is free of charge and does not make a profit, I am hopeful that I will not be threatened with any legal action, although I cannot make any promises.  The sites that had been closed were much busier than mine and had been running for much longer as well, so hopefully we can get at least another season out of it before any need to close down.

Only time will tell however.


Alonso or Vettel for 2012 WDC?

Alonso or Vettel for 2012 WDC?

Alonso versus Vettel, Singapore

Alonso versus Vettel

After the result of the Singapore Grand Prix, it looks like the challenge for the World Driver’s Championship is a two-horse race, but is it that simple?

Alonso has a fairly commanding lead of  29 points from Vettel now, but the Ferrari’s pace in recent races must be worrying for the team from Maranello.

With 6 races still to go Vettel needs to take 5 points on average out of Alonso’s lead at each of the remaining races to be crowned champion for a third successive season.  That’s a tough proposition but with the way the development race is going towards the end of the season it’s far from impossible.

 

Alonso hasn’t won a race since the German Grand Prix back in July and the team has even struggled to be the second quickest at many of the races since then, Alonso’s podiums at Singapore and Italy were largely down to other people retiring ahead of him.

Luckily for Alonso, the Red Bull hasn’t looked the quickest car at several tracks either and it is really struggling with a low top-speed on the lower down-force tracks.

Had it not been for the botched pit-stops, mechanical failures and other drivers crashing into him then Alonso’s main rival, indeed championship leader would be Hamilton.  The only other driver to have won three times this season, he has lost more than the deficit of 52 points he has currently to Alonso but he still has a chance of the title, albeit slim.  The McLaren has shown itself to be the class of the field over the past four races, if only it were more reliable.

McLaren have apparently solved their problematic pit-stops and since Hungary they have been practically flawless and the quickest team on the grid to turn their cars around.  The gear-box failure that Hamilton suffered while leading at Singapore and Button’s Hydraulic problem at Monza could conceivably be “one-offs” and it’s entirely feasible neither driver will suffer any more mechanical issues over the remaining races.

Alonso has yet to suffer a mechanical failure this season, Vettel had his at Valencia and so perhaps it’s the Spaniards turn for some kind of issue.  The fact is that Alonso has never suffered a mechanical DNF during his entire 3 season career at the Scuderia so perhaps it’s now overdue.

Ultimately what will decide this season is how many points Alonso can salvage from each of the remaining races.  I expect McLaren to continue to dominate as they have shown they are capable of winning at a variety of different tracks from the slow twisty Hungaroring to the flat-out straights of Monza.  The question mark is how many other teams can beat the Ferrari, it’s unclear if Red Bull can mount a consistent challenge as they have shown weakness at certain tracks.

Lotus have gone backwards a little of late and not shown the form they did in the first half of the season, Sauber have shown flashes of genuine pace with Perez but Mercedes have been rather poor.

The title will be decided by the likes of Williams with Maldonado, Lotus with Raikkonen and Force India who genuinely pressured Alonso in the shape of Paul di Resta, if these people and the other usual “midfield” teams can regularly take points away from Alonso then that may allow Vettel and even Hamilton to catch him up.

I expect the season to go down to the last race at Brazil where Alonso will have a lead of somewhere approaching 15 points so while we won’t get a grandstand finish it should be interesting.  Expect Massa to win that race as a fitting farewell to Ferrari and probably F1 with Alonso lifting the title at the end of the longest season in the sport’s history.


Hungarian Grand Prix Review

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The Hungarian Grand Prix doesn’t usually product much overtaking as this race was no different, although despite the lack of passing it was a fairly tense race with the final result uncertain until the last corner.

 

Hamilton started on pole but can’t have been too confident of his chances if he knew that only once in the last 7 Hungarian GPs has the pole-sitter gone on to win the race. He was also concerned as his recent starts hadn’t been impressive.

 

However, Hamilton made a great start and led into turn one, despite locking up and running a little bit wide.

 

He went on to lead the entire race despite a lot of pressure from the very quick Lotus cars of Grosjean initially and later on Raikkonen. It was only the fact that it is so difficult to pass around this circuit that allowed Hamilton to manage his tyres to the end and keep the black and gold cars at bay.

 

Button found this to his cost as McLaren tried a three stop strategy but he couldn’t make it work as he was stuck behind the slower Williams of Bruno Senna for several laps.

 

Hamilton won the race and is back in the hunt for the title, but the McLaren was arguably not the quickest car as both Lotus drivers impressed as Raikkonen took second place with Grosjean third.

 

Red Bull also showed they have a competitive car with Vettel in fourth place after pressurising Button in the early stage of the race.

 

Alonso put in a good damage-limitation drive to secure valuable points in 5th place in the Ferrari that was never really in with a chance of a podium, let alone the win, but he maintains a healthy lead in the title race.

 

After this race it looks like the title fight will be extremely interesting and could well go down to the final race. Alonso has his healthy lead of 40 points to Webber but the Ferrari hasn’t looked the strongest car for a few races now and that lead could quite quickly disappear.

 

Lotus look to be on the verge of their first win and both Red Bull and McLaren now look to have a stronger car than the Ferrari and so Alonso may soon start to struggle to pick up many points, even the 5th place he got today might be difficult to achieve.

 

Webber leads a pack of five drivers all within 8 points of each other in the hunt for the title with Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen all in with a chance of the championship.

 

If Lotus can continue in the form they showed today, with some major packages in the pipeline, Raikkonen is almost the favourite to hunt down Alonso. He’s a Spa specialist so the next race will be crucial for his entire season.

 

Vettel and Webber also have a chance and perhaps now Red Bull need to consider team orders. Hamilton is on a bit of a charge as well and this win might give him the impetus he needs to take his second title.

 

All to play for with 9 races to go, who will win the title?