Sunday, 14 September 2014

Singapore 2014 (Round 14) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Singapore prediction league thread! Things are heating up at the top of the PL with only five points separating first and second. 

Singapore is always a spectacle, not always completely entertaining but there have been enough exciting races to merit its place on the calendar. The night lights and the intensity of driving the cars here adds something different to many other locations.

There are many questions: Can Hamilton keep up the pressure on Rosberg? Or will this be a decisive blow to his title hopes like 2010 and 2012? Also will Ferrari fare better on a track less dependent on engine power? Di Montezemolo has stepped down so they will be hoping their fortunes turn soon.

2015 Contracts

It's that time of the year again, it is time to claim your stake in your preferred Constructor next year. Please see the table below for team moods:


Either post in the comments below or in the speculation thread. This can be a re-iteration of your commitment to your current team (with potential wage increases) or an offer to drive for another team. Typically once an offer has been made to take another seat, there will be a battle between the current driver and the offerer over three or so races. Depending on the current situation within a team the incumbent driver sometimes will have a positive handicap so the offerer needs to do something special to take their seat.

Teams will often decline offers straight off if they are very happy with their current drivers (e.g. Lotus) so you'll need to balance how realistic the bid is (based on your constructors points and past year performances) versus how happy each team are with their drivers.

Note: it's possible to make a maximum of two offers at once, including your current team. Each team will only consider three offers at once.

Without further ado let’s introduce the championship standings:


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Random


Thanks to everyone who has helped so far on random this year - please feel free to post suggestions here for other races. Michael helped with the random this time.

Predict the order of the full qualifying grid by highest classified car (e.g. Williams will finish ahead of Red Bull if they qualify 3rd and 17th while Red Bull qualify 4th and 5th) per Constructor. For each Constructor predict the driver who will do better across the weekend and whether the Constructor will finish higher, lower or the same in the race. 

For example:

1. Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, Same
2. Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel, Same
3. Williams, Felipe Massa, Lower
4. Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, Higher
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

Scoring

Qualification order

3 points will be scored for predicting the position of a team exactly right, 2 points for being one away and 1 point for being two away.

Driver prediction

1 point for finishing higher in qualifying and 1 point for finishing higher in the race. Both cars must set a time in qualifying and finish the race for the respective points to count. 

Race prediction

2 points will be scored if correct, 1 point if the outcome is one away from succeeding e.g. if same is predicted but the Constructor gains one place.

Note: If neither driver sets a time in qualifying for a team or neither driver finishes in the race then they will be ignored in the calculation. For instance, in the example above if neither Mercedes driver sets a time in qualifying then anyone who stated Red Bull 2nd (with Mercedes 1st) will score maximum points.

Tie-break

What will the gap be between a) Hamilton and Rosberg and b) Alonso and Raikkonen in qualifying? 

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Template


Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes banned.

Feel free to post picks in the following format:

Qualifying: 
Race: 
Constructors:
Random:

[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower]
[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower] etc.

Tie-break: HAM/ROS: X seconds, ALO/RAI: X seconds

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I'm looking forward to this weekend. As always with the title battle nicely poised (both around evens on most bookmakers) there is plenty of excitement left in this season.

As always picks are due before Free Practice 1.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Italy Results and Championship Standings (13/19)

Everyone should start thinking about what team they want to join next year. This is a rough guideline of team moods and comments (just for fun).


If you want to battle for a seat, please post here. Typically they'll be competition over a period of three or so races (the incumbent driver may have a positive handicap) or the request may not be accepted at all. For example, the Lotus drivers have been extremely loyal and lead the WC therefore Lotus won't hear anything about replacing their drivers.

Of course, you can sign for a different team and we'll try to find you a teammate next year.

Monza saw another mistake for Nico Rosberg - had he won that battle he'd have been significantly ahead. Hamilton would have been in big trouble and almost certainly needed a retirement to pull this gap back. 

The fighting down the field was incredible especially between 4th and 9th. This new Formula is serving up some really exciting races so plenty to be positive about! Another great charge through the field for Ricciardo, who looked completely out of it a third of the way through the race.

Onto the prediction league, congratulations to Kim, Sangan and Nat! Our deserving podium finishers - random proved to be critical again although Sangan's Massa pick almost proved to be the winning way to go.

Despite finishing 2nd the lead at the top of the championship narrows.

Here are the championship standings:

 

  

Friday, 5 September 2014

Friday Analysis: Bottas speeds his way to best of the rest



Intro


Our first-ever Friday analysis at Hockenheim was so ground-breaking that it’s taken two races and seven weeks for us (and probably you guys too) to suitably recover. In it we boldly predicted that Red Bull, and particularly that of the smiling Australian Daniel Ricciardo, would be the ones putting the heat on Mercedes. We even recommended bets based on that – which hopefully you had the wisdom not to follow. So shocked were we by Williams’ pace come Saturday that the Formula One Analysis team called a crisis meeting to understand how it happened – a bit like the one at Mercedes last Friday but probably more important. The not inconsiderable magnitude of this meeting partly explains the delay in putting our next analysis together.

It came to our attention that rather a few analysts (including us, of course) had noted the tendency of Ferrari to look particularly strong on a Friday, only to fall back over the rest of the weekend. But what about the relative change in performance of the other teams? Do Williams always hide their pace on a Friday? Was it this that caught us out?


What does Friday show?


Such questions are like red flags to a bull here at Formula One Analysis (and we are very much like bulls), so of course we felt compelled to go and investigate. What we found was, it would be fair to say, rather illuminating. The investigation spawned the creation of what has since been christened ‘The Super-duper Friday Form Adjuster’, which is somewhat comparable to a Doctor Who gadget, but more mysterious. Note that the Adjuster (oh yes, the ‘a’ requires capitalization) may need some re-calibration over the next few races as it gets put through its paces.

If you look below, the table below shows the relative performance change from Free Practice 2 through to the rest of the weekend (qualifying and race) between all the teams, with Red Bull as the barometer i.e. net zero change. We believe that the variation in performance is due to:
a) Fuel levels
b) Engine settings
c) Ease of finding optimum set up
d) Jacques Villenueve’s mood/The drivers’ dinner plans


Now such calculations, which some may consider a form of black arts, are by no means exact. The margin will be affected by the factors mentioned above and the effectiveness of overnight setup changes. So we suggest leaving a margin of 1-2 tenths when using the Adjuster. Also we’ve only taken into account the quickest car for the timings to suggest optimum performance, but it’s highly unlikely that both drivers will achieve this on any given weekend.

In terms of the top teams, what’s clear is that Williams gain significantly from a Friday through to Saturday and Sunday, whilst Ferrari fall back rather a lot relative to the competition. We’ve lost track of the number of occasions Williams have been discounted on a Friday, whilst Ferrari have been deemed to look the best of the rest behind the monstrous Mercs (like this current article on the Official Formula One site, for example).

So enough of the preamble – it’s time to put this Adjuster to use and see what bombshells it comes out with. We know the question that is on your minds; who looks to have mastered the mighty Autodromo di Monza?

One lap pace analysis


Thanks again to Macofan for their headline lap chart showing best sector times for each driver (if only the McLaren MP4-29 was as effective as their chart), which we’ve kindly borrowed. This shows the times by drivers on the qualifying simulation runs around halfway through FP2.


This is fairly self-explanatory, although it is worth pointing out that a few drivers struggled to get a clean lap time in, such as the McLaren drivers and Hamilton – owing to difficulties heating the tyres up and traffic. Hamilton was held up on both of his flying laps in sector 3 and, having been very strong there in FP1 this morning, would likely have matched or beaten Rosberg, giving him the edge overall over one lap.

Now it’s time to unholster the Adjuster and see what it can do. Buckle in and, when you feel ready, look at the chart below.


We’ve taken the quickest time for each car, and Adjusted it based on previous FP2 form change to give us new lap times. You’ll notice there are a few immediate changes – Williams move comfortably into second place and Ferrari fall back quite a bit from their FP2 times. More on that later.

Race pace analysis


Here we’ve put together a couple of graphs, showing the lap times done by drivers on their long runs later on in FP2 (excluding outliers). There’s typically been quite a big difference between the medium and hard tyres, and so we’ve done the first graph showing the times on the medium tyre, and the second graph shows times on the hard tyre. Teams have struggled to switch the hard tyre on this season (which is one step harder than last year’s compound), and with Monza likely to be a one-stop race, getting the hard tyre to work well could be key to the race.



What we’ve then done is calculated average lap time across a stint. We’ve done this for the whole stint and also for the first 8 laps only – due to the stint lengths this is often a more representative comparison. These average lap times have then felt the full force of the Adjuster, to provide what we feel is a more accurate picture of Sunday race pace. Again we’ve separated the medium and hard tyre runs.



Looking at Adjusted average lap time, it’s Valtteri Bottas who really catches the eye. Adjusted or unadjusted, he has a distinct advantage over the rest. Massa’s lap times on the hard tyre weren’t too shabby either. What to conclude from this? Are Williams genuine contenders for the win this weekend? We’re on the fence. We know from Rosberg’s post-practice comments that he was struggling over the long runs, and seemed to be suffering with degradation a lot more so than the Williams drivers. It’s been a pattern of the season that Rosberg has appeared underwhelming though in FP2 and sorted it out overnight, and we daresay he’ll do the same here. In addition, Hamilton’s long run times (which were in short supply) looked very strong. That all said, Williams really took it to Mercedes in Austria, and this could be the closest Mercedes are pushed in genuine pace since then or perhaps Monaco.

McLaren once again appear to be struggling to maintain their strong qualifying pace in race trim, whilst the smooth Force India is the opposite. They could be a force (a pun!) in the race, with a top 6 not impossible. Red Bull’s long run pace looked similar to Force India, and a little better than Ferrari, but not a match for Williams. It’s quite a big step back from the top 6 teams to Toro Rosso, followed by the closely matched Sauber and Lotus teams.

Conclusions


Friday practice suggests that the Mercedes W05 once again is the class of the field, although their margin over the best of the rest (Williams in this case) is too close for comfort. Indeed this is the first FP2 session we can remember this year where they’ve not had a clear edge in race pace, and it’s Williams who could give us a genuine 2 horse race this weekend. That’s not even taking into account the Mercedes team’s recent tendency to find new and colourful ways to sabotage their weekend. Indeed we’ve been speculating over the possible methods Mercedes might employ Monza, ranging from changing their driver line-up mid race, to Lewis leaving a potent stink bomb in Nico’s car. We all wait with baited breath.

Behind these two it looks pretty tight between Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Fore Incida. McLaren tend to go well in qualifying, but aren’t as strong in the race – as borne out by our long run analysis. The opposite is the case for Force India. In Ferrari’s favour compared to the Bulls is that their power unit is supposedly a little better than the Renault one, and according to one senior engineer (we obviously know several) the rumours that Luca Di Montezemolo may be departing Ferrari has given them an extra two tenths of a second per lap. Nonetheless Red Bull lead Ferrari an astonishing 11-1 in qualifying and appear to have a slight edge in race pace. It should be a great

Behind these big boys it’s a bit of a gap back to Toro Rosso, who aren’t quite as strong as previous weekends, with Sauber then leading the Lotus, which appeared unable to brake today without creating a huge lock-up. Unsurprisingly Marrussia continue to have the edge on pay-as-you-drive Caterham.

So what does all this mean for the title race, and what, we hear you whisper excitedly, of the surprise winner of the last two races – Daniel Ricciardo? Well, D-Ric as he may be known by some of his friends (us) looks in for a tougher weekend this time out. Red Bull pulled a masterstroke in strategy and setup in Spa, allowing them to grab a win which probably should have belonged to Williams. We also heard unconfirmed rumours that they sacrificed one of Seb’s troubled power units to the rain Gods that weekend. A repeat of that performance looks incredibly unlikely this weekend though, and Dan should come away happy with a top 5 result.

It’s hard to call between the two Mercedes title rivals, as Lewis’ troubled FP2 session makes comparisons nearly impossible. He looked mighty quick though in FP1, and was hindered significantly in FP2 by traffic on his quick lap, so adding this to the troubles Nico was having on his long runs, we give Lewis the edge this weekend. Let battle commence.

Top 3 surprises which shocked us to our core


1) Lewis Hamilton having car issues
2) Felipe Massa getting shown up by his teammate
3) The Lotus car handling like a lawnmower

Best of the bets


Bottas best without Mercedes @ 3.25 with Skybet, Betvictor and Ladbrokes
Best classified Force India to beat Toro Rosso in qualifying @ 1.6 with Bwin
Best classified Williams to beat Red Bull in qualifying @ 1.7 with Bwin
Perez to finish top 6 @ 5.5 with Bwin

Monday, 1 September 2014

Italy 2014 (Round 13) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Autodrome of Speed! The Mercedes drivers clashed in Spa causing a huge media fall-out. Eventually Nico Rosberg was disciplined by the team and admitted that he was in the wrong. Ultimately he still takes a 29 point lead into the last 7 races so it may have been worth it.

After Red Bull's great performance in Spa, can they reproduce in the most unlikely of places? Or will the Mercedes engines cars or Ferrari be the closest challenger's to Mercedes?

Without further ado let’s introduce the championship standings:


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Random


Thanks to everyone who has helped so far on random this year - please feel free to post suggestions here for other races. Nat has posted a suggestion for random in this race and I think it's excellent so here goes.

Risk vs reward
Q1: Name a driver who will qualify in the top 4
Hamilton/Rosberg – 1 points
Bottas/Ricciardo – 2 points
Massa/Vettel – 3 points
Alonso/Magnussen – 4 points
Any other – 5 points

Q2: Which driver will qualify the most positions in front of his own teammate? (Penalties do not count - result based on provisional grid before penalties. A team with a disqualified driver counts as 0 points regardless of which driver is disqualified. Tie-breaks decided by highest position).
Best answer - 4 points
2nd, 3rd - 3 points
4th, 5th - 2 points
6th or lower – 1 point
Driver picked out-qualified - 0 points

Q3: Pick one Driver A (e.g. Hulkenberg) to beat their Driver B (e.g. Sutil) in the race. A retirement in your pairing results in 0 points being scored. I've used a random generator to generate 12 random options - I've assigned points to each of these options.
Hamilton - Gutierrez - 1 point

Raikkonen - Button - 3 points
Alonso - Gutierrez - 1 point
Ricciardo - Vergne - 1 point
Alonso - Bottas - 3 points
Gutierrez - Raikkonen - 6 points
Bianchi - Hulkenberg - 6 points
Sutil - Vergne - 3 points
Bottas - Rosberg - 4 points
Grosjean - Massa - 5 points
Magnussen - Vettel - 3 points
Button - Alonso - 3 points

Q4: Name a team which has both cars in the top six at any point in the race at the same time (must be at the end of a classified lap)
Mercedes 1 point
Williams/Red Bull/Ferrari 2 points
Force India/McLaren 3 points
Toro Rosso 4 points
Any other 5 points

Yes or No?
Self-explanatory! 2 points for each correct answer

Q1: Will the podium be entirely Mercedes engined cars?
Q2: Will Alonso finish ahead of Vettel in the race? (Both must finish)
Q3: Will at least five Renault-powered cars finish the race? (Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Caterham)
Q4: Will at least seven Mercedes-powered cars qualify in the top ten? (Mercedes AMG, Williams, Force India, McLaren)

Q5: Will any driver exceed 357kph/222mph in qualifying?

Tie-break: What will the gap be between the leading Mercedes car in qualifying compared to a) the leading Ferrari powered car and b) the leading Renault powered car?

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Template



Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes banned.

Feel free to post picks in the following format:

Qualifying: 
Race: 
Constructors:
Random:

RvR - Q1:
RvR - Q2:
RvR - Q3:
RvR - Q4:
YN - Q1:
YN - Q2:
YN - Q3:
YN - Q4:
YN - Q5: 

Tie-break: Ferrari - X; Renault - X.

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I'm looking forward to this weekend - it may be crucial in the championship battle especially given the crazy fall-out after Spa. 

As always picks are due before Free Practice 1. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Belgium Results and Championship Standings (12/19)

First things first, there are a number of teams with one driver - please let me know if anyone objects to the following situation.

Chris Grigson (from last place Force India) moves to Ferrari (as he knows Joe)
Paul Smith (from last place Force India) moves to Red Bull

Unfortunately that leaves Brian on his own but given there's an odd number of drivers there's no way around this - sorry.

Back to the F1. This title battle is becoming farcical. It's been a long time since there's been a fair fight between the two Mercedes drivers and what's more the title leader drives like a rookie costing his team 37 points to Red Bull (Hamilton -25 points, Rosberg -, Ricciardo -10 points, Vettel -2 points).

We learn afterwards that Nico put his car there to prove a point (confirmed by Toto Wolff) - wow. This is not something which should be taken lightly by anyone. A driver who does that is dangerous and in my opinion doesn't deserve the title much. As a long time fan of both drivers, with a slight inclination towards Hamilton, I was very disappointed with Rosberg. 

Everyone will have their own opinion on the incident. What's yours? 
Onto the prediction league, congratulations to Joe, Paul Smith and Brian! Our deserving podium finishers - backing Red Bull was exceptionally decisive with Ricciardo's third win of the season.

Sangan didn't get on the podium but had an incredibly strong weekend and they now take a sizeable lead into the 13th round of the championship.

Here are the championship standings:

 
  

Monday, 18 August 2014

Belgium - F1 Prediction League 2014

Welcome all - this is going to be a shortened post, to give people time to consider the hugely pivotal mid-season categories.

Please post your mid-season and Belgium picks by Free Practice 1 (0900 GMT Friday 22nd August).

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Random


Pick two drivers for each of the three sectors - they must be from different teams. The idea is to score the lowest combined time across all six picks.



 
You will score the lowest time for the team you pick (for example a Ricciardo pick will be Red Bull) but will receive a 0.050s bonus if you pick the quickest teammate in that sector.

For example:

I pick Ricciardo and Hulkenberg in S1. Say the following quickest sector times are set during qualifying:

Ricciardo (31.0), Vettel (30.9), Hulkenberg (31.3), Perez (31.7)

The best RB driver (Vettel) scored a 30.9 second so use this. Hulkenberg scored a 31.3 but a 0.05 second bonus will be applied because Hulkenberg was picked as the best teammate, so use 31.25 for Hulkenberg. The combined score from sector 1 would therefore be 30.9 + 31.25 = 62.15 seconds. 

Note: if neither driver from your team sets a time in a sector, you will score equal to the slowest driver (time-wise) through that sector. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

F1 2014 Mid-Season Categories

It's with great pleasure that I introduce this year's F1 Prediction League mid-season categories. As always we take the opportunity created by the mid-summer break to spice up the Prediction League.

What's on offer? 
A huge total of 25 points towards your final season score and £30 in Amazon vouchers for the player who scores the most points in the second part of the season (mid-season categories + last 8 races).

Why get involved?
As a current player this season in the Prediction League, that’s an easy one; it’s an opportunity to boost your final season score (and position in the table), and there’s the £30 of vouchers available if you get on a hot streak in the second half of the season.

But the mid-season categories are also an ideal entry point for new players. Perhaps you’ve been perusing the Prediction League, and wondering about pitting your mighty F1 wits against the rest of us, or you know someone who would relish the challenge. For new players, there's also an opportunity to win the £30 and to get used to the current format before next year. 

There are also a number of vacancies open down the grid so you can fight for a team of your choice to win the Constructors Championship!  It's a perfect time to get involved especially as every player fights for individual race glory each race weekend. We keep a record of individual driver stats and records so make your mark on Prediction League history by getting involved!