Fantasy F1 competitions and strategies

A fun diversion during the season is to enter a Fantasy Formula 1 competition. When I was at school I actually used to run one for a couple of years. It was a bit too ambitious though. By the end I was getting people to design their liveries and even choose sponsors for points. I definitely overdid it there.

Anyway, it is years since I entered a Fantasy F1 competition. I was looking around for competitions to enter when a Sidepodcast league was announced. The league now contains an astonishing 84 entrants, with a few familiar names to the F1 blogosphere in the mix.

I have also decided to join in Linksheaven’s Fantasy F1 competition. The rules are a bit weird because you get a point for each lap a driver completes. I’m not sure if I have taken the right approach with this one. Apparently a lot of people have chosen Sutil on the basis that he is cheap and he will rack up the points by completing loads of laps. I’ve just gone for a general mid-grid selection, in the hope they’ll pick up some actual points now and again.

The other competition I am indulging in this season is Formula 1 Picks, a Facebook Application. Last year F1 Picks entailed predicting the top three finishers, but this year has seen a tweak to the rules. Drivers are now separated into three groups — Ferrari / McLaren drivers and Alonso; the midfield; the no-hopers. You score the Championship points of your three picks.

This is a simple approach, and the three tier selection system has mixed it up a bit. However, I am perplexed at some of the choices made by the application’s developers. Mark Webber is in the second group while David Coulthard is in the third group. It’s not clear to my why DC should be regarded as so much worse, especially since with the new gearbox rules Webber is sure to retire from several races!

I would choose Coulthard from the third group because it seems like an opportunity to pick up an ‘undervalued’ driver. But Kazuki Nakajima is also in this third group! I realise that Nakajima is a rookie, but the Williams is going to knock everyone’s block off this year, and Nakajima was handy in the Brazilian Grand Prix (pitstop mishap aside).

What other decent Fantasy F1 competitions are there? I have noticed competitions run by Virgin Media (goodness knows why), Times Online / The Sun and everyone’s favourite, ITV-F1.

But entering these competitions involves giving away quite a lot of personal information, and who knows, maybe even selling your soul. I suppose that is the price you pay for entering a competition that actually has a prize. But that’s not what it’s about surely?

Also, what do you think is a good strategy? When I ran my competition at school I sadly undervalued Michael Schumacher just in time for him to have one of his most dominant seasons (I think that must have been 2002), so everyone who bought Michael Schumacher and had even the crappest chassis and engine just ran away with the competition.

Is the “great driver / poor chassis” combination the best? I tend to go for an all-round middling team in the hope of grabbing a few points here and there, rather than going to the expense of buying, say, Räikkönen. I am out of practice in this Fantasy F1 malarkey though. Time will tell.

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