Let’s get frank. 2009 has been a pretty poor season for Fantasy F1 so far – and we’re only a week in, and today’s events with McLaren are so vexing that it’s really a struggle to drum up the enthusiasm to write about it.
But if we don’t start, we won’t carry on – here goes.
There has been a considerable contraction in the choices available this year. Several of the big players are out – McLaren put out a quiet little announcement halfway through March that they’d be focusing on more important things than the Grand Prix League simulation.
Clearly they need to switch the boxes over to computational fluid dynamics. Or maybe to power a random excuse generator that is somewhat more convincing than Martin Whitmarsh.
The Telegraph and the ITV F1 website are also nowhere to be found, which is a disappointment. So the games available this year seem to be mainly small, just-for-fun fan-based efforts.
We’ve signed up for the F1 Fantasy Racing League – at time of writing there are approximately 350 teams competing.
That’s down a bit on the 15,000-odd taking part in McLaren Grand Prix League last year. But, taking the positives, that means our chances of winning are something like 50 times better.
Bring it on.
BritsOnPole 2009 started out with the following driver picks – we prefer the games which work by points totals rather than the ones that allow only one team to hold a given combination of F1 drivers and squads.
So we chose Lewis Hamilton (naturally), Jenson Button (naturally), Sebastian Vettel, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg for our driver picks. Our team picks, probably to no-one’s surprise, were Brawn GP and McLaren.
You can see why the Australian race has been particularly vexing perhaps, since almost all the drivers involved in crashes, controversies and unnecessary points-wasting spinoffs are on that list.
FSL allows you to fiddle about to your heart’s content for the first two weeks of the contest, as your points won’t count towards your final score, although the top three will get a fistful each to take forward.
After Australia we remembered our own, much-Googled advice from the end of last season and swapped Mark Webber for that reliable fantasy F1 points-scorer Nick Heidfeld. A man needs a little luck, and Webber never seems to have a grain of the stuff, God bless him.
The other driver that normally occupies that category is Jarno Trulli but we have a hunch that this year he will be eclipsed by Timo Glock and have acted accordingly (long before today’s troubles blew up, lest our integrity be in doubt).
We’re collecting a few points for not quite using our entire buying fund and we have three ‘joker’ races to score extra points on – but neither Australia nor Malaysia feature.
Here are our race scores pre-Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification but after the Trulli penalty – in other words at the point where this rule is invoked: “Any alteration to a race’s result after the FIA has announced the results as official will not be taken into account.”
The stewards could learn a thing or two from these guys, in fact.
Lewis Hamilton: 170
Sebastian Vettel: 108
Jarno Trulli: 113
Mark Webber: 101
Nico Rosberg: 152
Jenson Button: 163
Brawn GP: 100
Interest (on unused buying fund): 25
BoP’s current league table ranking: 40th
BoP’s performance for Australia: 41st (Yes, we know, we *ought* to be on the same points. This appears to be the league’s way of dealing with two players on the same score.)
Top five performers for comparison:
Leaky Pig Racing: 1173
Chase ME: 1157
Cheap Skates Racing: 1140
Team Poppy: 1133
Average Racing: 1130
Bottom performer is currently on 607.
Let’s see how our swaps pan out in Malaysia.