2016 Predictions

F1 2016

The driver and team line-ups are more or less finalised for the 2016 F1 season, which promises to be the longest ever with 20 races on the calendar spanning more than 9 months.

So, what should the prospective fantasy manager look out for?

Lewis Hamilton is the bookies favourite to retain his title, by some margin, with odds as short as 1-2 on.  His nearest rival is team-mate Nico Rosberg who can be had for 7 to 2.

I would agree that Hamilton is favourite once again to win the WDC but the odds are crazily short and his value in the Fatasy-F1-League at &pound45M is a bit steep.  Even if he does win the title again I expect it to be much closer with Rosberg winning more races and Ferrari mounting a more serious challenge this year round – Vettel will win more races in 2016 than he did in 2015 in my opinion.  The canny fantasy manager may look elsewhere for value for money.

Don’t forget Rosberg has beaten Hamilton in both qualifying and the races on the last 3 occasions, a feat he has never accomplished before.  Is this because he relaxed knowing the title was won?  Did Hamilton relax and not quite perform at his best?  Only time will tell, perhaps Mercedes may feel that 2016 belongs to Rosberg and it is time they put more effort behind their less successful driver?

If you thought Hamilton was an odds-on favourite, then Mercedes are absolutely nailed-on for the constructors title and I would agree this is another season that the silver arrows will dominate.  But I don’t think they will dominate quite as much as they did in 2015, when they were beaten fair and square on a couple of occasions.

Having said that there aren’t enough teams who are likely to score big points so the fantasy manager will almost certainly pick Mercedes as one of their engine/chassis or aero picks.

Ferrari were the only team to consistently challenge Mercedes and they only really managed to beat them on a handful of occasions.  I see the Scuderia as stepping up a level for 2016 though and winning a handful of races this time and pushing Mercedes for most of the races.

Ferrari are therefore good value for money this season and Vettel is probably the most likely driver not driving a Mercedes to win a few races.

However, Raikkonen is not likely to have as bad a season as he had in 2015 and so is also good value, expect him to up his game for 2016 and whilst he is probably still going to play second fiddle to his German team-mate, I expect him to beat Vettel at least now and then.

It’s hard to see anyone winning outside the top teams, Williams were the clear third placed team last time round but I think they may struggle to maintain this position in 2016.  Bottas is probably their best driver now that Massa is getting close to retirement, but I don’t think either is particularly good value this time around.

Red Bull will also struggle as their well-publicised engine woes continue, which is a pity as they probably have the best chassis/aero combination on the grid. Indeed their package is good enough to let them challenge on occasions when the track allows, Monaco and Singapore being circuits that may favour them.  They may also do well in the wet when engine power is less of a factor.  Ricciardo and Kvyat may be worth picking for certain types of conditions and certain tracks but probably not good value over the course of the season.

Force India showed a few glimpses of their potential but there isn’t much to suggest 2016 will see a big improvement in their fortunes, expect solid points but not much more from them.  Hulkenberg has the potential to be a race winner if given the car to do it but they don’t quite seem to have that ability.

It will be interesting to see if Renault can improve the Lotus team’s fortunes – their highlight for 2015 was the podium scored by Grosjean at Spa but the Frenchman has left to join the new Haas team so it is unclear what 2016 holds for the French team.

Sauber, Torro Rosso and Manor are all likely to struggle again in 2016, squabbling over the minor points and struggling to even do that in the case of Manor who I think will succumb to financial problems sometime during the season.

McLaren may be the surprise package for 2016 as they seemed to overcome some of their problems towards the end of the season – Alonso set a lap at Abu Dhabi within 2 tenths of the fastest lap so the car does have potential.

McLaren and either of their driver is probably worth a gamble due to their very cheap prices based on a disastrous 2015, surely they must improve?  The question is by how much?  I suspect we will see them in the midfield and possibly just off the podium at some races.

Finally we have the new Haas F1 team – a gamble if you are brave, new teams tend to struggle to score points and I see them as scoring the odd point here and there during the season ammassing a total around 20 or so over the season.

Grosjean is a decent driver with some experience but the jury is still out regards Esteban Gutiérrez who has only a little experience in F1 and a best of 7th place at Japan in 2013.

I don’t have a great record at this type of prediction so take it all with a pinch of salt and I reserve the right to change the above based on the testing sessions!
So, take your pick and let’s hope we have a good season of racing in 2016.

You can register for free and pick your team at http://www.fantasy-f1-league.com

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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!


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.