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?

 

 

 


German Grand Prix Preview

German GP 2010

 

This year’s German Grand Prix is from the new Hockenheim circuit, that was shortened a few years ago to make it better for the crowds to view the spectacle.

Historically Ferrari have gone well here but in recent years it’s been a good track for McLaren as well with Lewis Hamilton winning in 2008.

 

However, the most famous, or should I say infamous result was the 2010 race when Fernando Alonso won after team orders were used to get him past team mate Felipe Massa.  The famous quote being that of Rob Smedley to Massa: “Fernando is faster than you!”.

I’ve not really got a good idea of who is likely to win this weekend as it’s been such a topsy-turvey season and the weather is also quite uncertain for the race.  Predictions seem to indicate a dry Friday for practise but then likely a wet qualifying session and then showers for race day, so it’s anyone’s guess!

I feel we’re likely to see a close race between Red Bull and Ferrari with McLaren being not too far behind, but track temperature is going to be key, if it’s hot expect Ferrari and McLaren to be more competitive, if it’s cold then Red Bull will be harder to beat.

It will be interesting to see if Mark Webber can keep up his good form this season and beat Sebastian Vettel again, if he can then he must have a chance of being crowned champion at the end of the season.

We may finally see Lotus get their first victory here as well, they seem to be able to challenge depending on the tyres, if they can get their car to work on both compounds we could see a victory for the team at last.

Mercedes will also be keen to impress on their home track and with two German drivers in front of their home fans perhaps they can put a good result together.

Williams have also been quoted as saying they expect to go well here, but I feel the winner is likely to be a Red Bull, or Fernando Alonso with Hamilton having a slim chance too.

It should be another good race as the track does produce some good action with its mix of high speed straights and tight and medium speed corners.


British Grand Prix Review

Webber leads the British Grand Prix

After the torrential rain that dominated practise and qualifying, with the terrible forecasts for the race, it was typical of the British Weather that we saw a completely dry race.

Fernando Alonso looked like he was going to win for much of the race as he dominated early on but eventually the pace of the Red Bulls shone through and Mark Webber took the lead with just three laps to go.  Webber is now the second driver after Alonso to win two races this season and the other teams must now be worried about the pace of the Red Bull car.

The Ferrari was pretty much on the pace of the Red Bull on the harder compound tyre but struggled a little with the softer tyres, this was the story for a lot of the teams and it is only the fact that the Red Bull seems more consistent on either set that Webber was able to win the race.

So while Red Bull dominate, Ferrari have made some excellent progress and are not far behind, Massa pulled off one of his best races so far this season to come home in fourth, not too far behind Vettel.

It now looks like a straight fight between Alonso and the Red Bull drivers, but you have to say that Alonso is favourite despite the Red Bull appearing to be the quicker car as he has the full backing of his team and his team mate is unlikely to take any points from him all season.  The same cannot be said for Red Bull as both drivers are fighting hard over every point and despite the team favouring Vettel in the past surely they cannot do the same this season with Webber performing so well.  Having said that you can’t really see them favouring Webber either due to the political situation in the team and the perception that brand Vettel will shift more cans of pop.

McLaren disappointed again and despite no pit stop issues for a change, they simply don’t have the pace to compete and the season looks like being over for both their drivers in terms of the championship.  I can see them winning the odd race but they simply aren’t going to produce the consistency of results they need to win overall.  Hamilton struggled to h0ld on to the 8th place he started on the grid while Button did produce a decent drive to finish 10th after starting 16th.

Lotus now seem to have established themselves as the third team and had similar issues to Ferrari but the other way around, they were the quickest car out there on the softer tyres which makes you wonder why they didn’t use them for the second and third stint rather than just the final one.  This underlines the fact that the tyres are so unpredictable this season and the teams by and large still don’t understand them.

Raikkonen finished a creditable fifth while Grosjean was probably the driver of the day coming from 9th on the grid to finish in 6th place.

Mercedes had a reasonable day with Schumacher coming home 7th to beat both McLarens while Williams disappointed yet again.  Sauber were also disappointing but it seems as though they may have been gambling on a wet race.

I had some problems updating the results after the race as I tried to do it too soon, the results are fetched from the F1.com site that appeared to have updated but in actual fact they’d updated the “front” page to show the result but the actual results page still had qualifying results on it.  This meant that the script produced some very odd results and it took me about three hours to fix.  Apologies for the inconvenience, it seems to be correct now but please do check and let me know if you find any issues, thanks for your patience!

So, it’s off to Germany for the next round on July 22nd, Mclaren have done well here in the past so perhaps we can see a racer contested by more than just two teams.


European Grand Prix Report

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On the face of it my prediction of a Vettel/Hamilton fight for the win with Alonso having a chance doesn’t seem too bad, but that doesn’t really tell the full story.

Vettel dominated the race in the early stages to the extent that I thought he must be running an extra pit-stop compared to the other front runners as he was able to pull out a second per lap advantage.  The fact that he pitted later than most of his rivals just shows how dominant the Red Bull is but we cannot tell at this stage if this dominance is likely to continue or if was just down to the Pirelli tyres once again.

The Safety Car ruined Vettel’s perfect race as it appeared just after half distance and negated his big lead.    Vettel soon had to retire with technical problems and you wonder if the slower speeds they had to run behind the SC contributed to that retirement.  Vettel was obviously disappointed by the retirement but if he can enjoy a similar advantage for the next few races then the title will surely be his for the taking.

Lewis Hamilton had a solid drive all afternoon but simply didn’t have the pace to challenge the Red Bull and then once again had his afternoon’s worked ruined by yet another McLaren bodge-stop.  This time it looked as though the front jack failed and so they had to use a reserve, costing around ten seconds over and above the usual 3-4 seconds.

This dropped Hamilton to sixth place at the time after he had been running in second the whole race long, in fact this probably cost him the victory as Vettel would retire soon after.

Fernando Alonso was the beneficiary as his stop was perfect and he inherited the place and went on to win after Vettel’s failure.  Alonso had driven well in the early stages of the race to make places after starting a lowly 11th and once he had overtaken Grosjean to take 2nd place quickly inherited the lead with Vettel’s retirement.

The main excitement towards the end of the race was Hamilton who having driven the last twnety laps or so very hard to make it back to 2nd began the struggle with tyre wear issues.  He bravely fought off Raikkonen for several laps but soon had to give up that place as his grip diminished and then eventually he was rudely rammed off the track by an impatient Pastor Maldonado.

Maldonado lost his front wing in the incident that meant he could only finish in 10th but the 20 second post-race penalty he received was wholly inadequate in my view for a man who has been punished numerous times now for ramming into other drivers.  It’s about time he is given a proper penalty for his dangerous and petulant driving and a one-race ban would have been more appropriate.  You can’t ram title contending drivers off the track, I wonder how important the 12 points Hamilton lost today will be in the final analysis of the season.

This incident meant the Michael Schumacher was at long last able to take his place on the podium.

Alonso now leads the title quite convincingly from Mark Webber who put in a solid drive to finish in 4th after his DRS problems meant he could only qualify in 19th place.  Hamilton and Vettel are a little further back with the top 4 covered by 26 points.

This season is something of a race with the hare (Vettel) against the tortoise of Alonso.

One final thing of note, Hamilton has still not signed a contract with McLaren and the pit-stop incident today could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear he’s signed for another team any time soon.  The question would be which one?