Since the post-race, has-he, hasn’t-he, drama of Monza and Hamilton gaining a seemingly unassailable 53-point Championship lead, it has been the off-track news that has taken a considerable amount of the limelight with the Renault and Red Bull split grabbing a lot of the recent headlines. I strongly believe that a competitive Red Bull, along with McLaren for that matter (we can hope), would make for a stronger sport but, as a customer-team, it is going to be a difficult few months ahead for the Milton Keynes-based outfit. Indeed, with 7 races to go and time-running out to finally make or retain your mark in this year’s Fantasy League, it might be time to look at new relationships of your own. As usual, here is a spotlight on a few of those drivers and teams which may cause you some sleepless nights.
Update: Alexander Rossi is now in for Roberto Merhi for Singapore and a few more races. As a result, if you had Merhi in your team, you now have Rossi. All players have been gifted 1 additional team change.
Marcus Ericsson (£3m) – It won’t be a surprise to many of you to see the Swede mentioned here after a determined and solid showing in Monza which earned him the “Top Dog” award from the Badger GP hierarchy themselves. This was a well-deserved reward for gaining two valuable Championship points for a Sauber team that have possibly failed to maintain their early season promise. His 3.67 points per million made Ericsson the second-best value driver from the famous Italian race. In fairness though, his progress goes deeper than that – his accrued 124 points this season is closing in on Nasr’s much lauded, 135-strong haul and have provided significantly better values that their respective Toro Rosso rivals for a slightly smaller outlay.
Felipe Massa (£13m) – It’d be impossible, during the intra-race lull, to avoid seeing some reference to a story about how Bottas will be joining Ferrari at a time and date to be confirmed. However, when you look at the performance of his veteran Brazilian colleague this season, it may be difficult to see why those links are so prevalent. For £2m less, Massa has gain 34 more points at a value of 13.85 per million spent compared to 9.75 for Bottas (only 0.22 above Ricciardo’s rating). It is clear that Bottas represents the future generation but, with 7 races to go, it might be a case of age before beau…, spee…, the younger driver.
Ferrari (£14m) – Unfortunately, the Mercedes domination means, unlike the drivers, it has been difficult to dispute which is the best-value team this season with Mercedes 452 points frankly an absurd measure of just how they have been performing. However, Ferrari have proved to be the best use for a £9m saving over their “rival”, with their 19.29 points per million providing admiral competition for the leaders and representing an 82-point gain over Williams for £3m less of your hard-to-budget balance sheet. My biggest disappointment for the Italian outfit is, I expect, also theirs and it’ll be interesting to see if Raikkonen’s contract for 2016 sends him even further to sleep for the rest of this campaign.
Other Tips – Rosberg will wish to forget last year’s race as he experienced electronic problems before even leaving the garage before retiring before even hauling in a slow Caterham. Hamilton will be looking to match last year’s triumph with another whilst also getting his 50th pole and his 11th from 12 outings this season alone. Red Bull are expected to be dark horses under the lights of Marina Bay (although a dozen articles on this make you wander how dark the horse), whilst Williams have already highlighted their own issues, so consider your predictions carefully as their could be a mix-up at a circuit which doesn’t play to the same strengths as others.
Weather is likely to be a massive factor in Singapore and high-humidity will cause most of the teams to pay very close attention to their monitors and, at the time of writing, the prospects of a torrential downpour at some stage on the Sunday are between 60-80%. It was two stops for tyres last year on this street circuit but, far more importantly for your predictions, it should be noted that there has yet to have been a Singapore race without a safety car period. All of the above should make for an exciting race so let us all hope it can deliver!