The Formula 1 season starts this weekend with a Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia. It promises to be an exciting year of racing, although they say that every year and the last few seasons have been mind-numbingly boring (sorry Vettel!). For 2014 we are going to play 4 different Fantasy F1 games, and they really are all different in their implementation.
First up is...
Castrol EDGE Grand Prix Predictor
Here you don't mess around with a budget or pick one or two drivers for each race; you pick who will finish each race in the top ten places. You earn points on how close your predictions are. You also get to pick; who gains pole position in qualifying, who will set the fastest lap in the race, and which driver will gain the most positions during the race.
It is well laid out and because it's run by AutoSport Magazine, you can compare your predictions with those of their experts each week. If I don't outscore Timo Glock this week I won't be happy!
Next up is... Fantasy Racers.com
Here is interesting because you are given two choices when you initially start the game. You can either have a budget of 45m to pick your team, but you can't make changes during the year. Or you can start with a budget of 40m and make as many driver changes as you want during the year. I'm going with the smaller budget and will be hoping the 5 racers I have (you can pick up to 6) can get me off to a good start.
To gain bonus points each race you can try and guess the results of a number of scenarios. Which team will complete the fastest pit-stop? Which driver will be the first to retire? How many seconds the winner of the race will have over second place? And how many cars will finish after the first lap? I think I might need any bonus points I can get!
I'll also be playing... F1 Manager
In this game you are given a budget of 100m, which you think is a lot, until you have to pick 2 drivers, a chassis and an engine, then you realise it isn't really that much! I will probably have to revisit my strategy later, as I was just happy to be able to fill each position. But seeing as the Marussia team didn't managed to pass Q1 and Bianchi & Kobayashi aren't exactly looking like bothering the podium this race, my team could be in for an overhaul before we get to Malaysia.
You can gain extra money for your meagre starting budget by correctly predicting the time of pole position, right down to the millisecond. How many milliseconds was I out this week? Only 17400! it could very well be a long season!
And finally.... Racing Leagues
Another free to play league. And another league that takes a different approach to scoring. In this game you get to pick 3 drivers, who are ranked 1st to 3rd. The driver you have in 1st gets the most points from his finishing position, e.g. if your Driver 1 wins a race you get 50pts, if Driver 2 wins you get 37pts, and if Driver 3 wins you get 25pts. You also have to pick a Constructor and an Engine type. Plus did I mention you have to do all this within budget? Well now I did.
You get bonus points if all your picks finish the race. One Grand Prix a season can be designated a Home Grand Prix and all your points are doubled. On top of all this you are only allowed to make 7 changes/transfers during the year. Hamilton is my Driver 1, so I'm hopefully off to a good start!
These four Fantasy Formula 1 Leagues should be enough to keep you busy for 2014. If anyone has another league which you think is worth checking out, then please leave a comment below. It is rare to see such variety in Fantasy Sports leagues, and before we get to the final race in Abu Dhabi we should knew which one comes out on top.