If you are the new kid on the team then you better bring your “a-game” and sadly Baku failed quite spectacularly in this a dull Sunday début. However, it would be difficult to argue that we haven’t been spoiled so far this season, and hopefully the entertainment can get back on-track with this weekend’s GP in Austria.
If the glory of your own Fantasy GP outfit is starting to fade, then here is a driver and team under focus alongside some hints and tips ahead of the weekend’s racing at the Red Bull Ring.
Marcus Ericsson (£4m) – Sauber’s Swedish driver spent a considerable part of last season trailing in the Fantasy golddust of his Brazilian team-mate Felipe Nasr. However, despite his team’s well reported financial struggles, Ericsson has got his head down to be a great bargain option during this campaign. Despite no race points, Ericsson has managed to outscore Nasr by 115 points to 90, out qualifying him 5 to 3 in the process.
And with a low £4m price-tag, it’s seen a return of 28.75 points-per-million spent, the second most valuable at this stage of the season. If you are looking to differentiate your line-up and catch up with the competition, the Swede could be an largely undiscovered gem; only 3.6% of players have included him in their line-up, down from 3.9% before Melbourne.
Williams (£18m) – It hasn’t been anything other than a steady season for the British team as they have only managed an uninspiring fourth in the standings to date, trailing their rivals Red Bull and Ferrari by 50 and 87 points respectively. A big price tag has not helped their cause in the Fantasy stakes and, although they manage a mid-field return of exactly 5 points-per-million spent, this is only 0.43 ahead of Toro Rosso, and 0.46 behind Force India, the former offering far greater flexibility for your budget.
Unsurprisingly, their popularity amongst competitors has fallen away over the course of 2016, down 5.4% to only 7.5% from pre-season, leaving them trailing Sauber as the second-least popular team. If only super fast pit stops earned some extra points…
Other Tips – Nico Rosberg took his third victory of the season from Lewis Hamilton in last year’s Austrian race and will be hoping to take his tally to double that this time around after getting back to form in Baku.
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be keen to avoid a repeat of their nasty looking crash in Salzburg in 2015, although it is doubtful they’ll be that close on track again if the Finn can provide anything that resembles consistency.
Williams (featured above) would love an unlikely repeat of their 2014 front row lockout in qualifying whilst both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will be very keen to improve on Red Bull’s tenth and twelfth in 2015 following a relatively disappointing showing in Azerbaijan last time out.
Rain is not currently predicted for Salzburg but this may change as the weekend draws closer and the predicted low temperatures are likely to have an effect on tyre wear. Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyre choice is most popular among teams with Ferrari having gone extra aggressive with their own selections as they look to haul in Mercedes whilst Red Bull and Williams have taken a slightly more conservative approach.
There has only been one safety car in the two years on this modern track following an 11-year break for Austria from the F1 scene, and therefore for your predictions you may wish to keep on the low side, especially if you gambled on the 3 or more “banker bet” in Baku.
Don’t forget the rest of your predictions if you want to have the chance of topping the charts this time out!