Sports

BAHRAIN FORMULA ONE PICKS AND TEAM REVEAL

ITS LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!

The dust has barely settled on the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the exciting conclusion to the 2021 Formula 1 championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Fast forward a few months and we are ready to start the engines once again, as we welcome in an exciting new season, with new regulations and renewed rivalries!

Here at FanTeam, we are of course running the Formula 1 full season contest. But there is plenty more to come for week to week race fans! We are also running a weekend contest for each race, starting with this weeks’ Bahrain grand prix. The contest will cover qualifying and the race itself. There is no sprint race in Bahrain, but we will discuss the sprint format and how this impacts scoring once we get to the races where this will feature.

This weeks’ contest features two buy-ins, €2/£1.68 and €12/£10.08. The main contest features a prize pool of €1,500/£1,260.

RULES

The contest will cover this weekend’s grand prix only. You must select 6 drivers to fill out your team, working within a budget of 103.0m. You will also be required to select a captain and vice-captain in the process. Your captain will score x2 points, your vice-captain will score x1.5 points. Your captaincy selections do not count towards your budget figure, which should make your captaincy choices a little easier. This allows you to tailor your captaincy choices to which drivers you think will perform well at this weeks’ track. 

No bench required, so the selection headache is removed for you here!

You can multi-enter this contest, with a maximum of 30 teams allowed per user.

Standard fantasy scoring will apply (the scoring can be accessed within the contest itself), and qualification and race scoring will apply to this contest. If two teams are tied in this contest once the Chequered flag is waved, the team with the most remaining funds will win.

BUILDING YOUR TEAM

For anyone new to the single race Formula 1 weekend contests on FanTeam, you will notice a bit of a difference in line-up construction when compared with the full season contest. In the full season contest, you can select any 6 drivers within budget, along with a constructor. The weekend contests however are a little different. Here’s how…

Within your team of 6, there are 4 tiers that you will be selecting drivers from. Tier 1 and Tier 2 requires you to select 2 drivers from each tier. Tier 3 and Tier 4 require you to select only 1 driver from these tiers. 

In an ideal world, you could select the top priced driver from each tier. The catch is, your budget won’t allow you to do this! You will have to select a more balanced line up if you are selecting a top Tier 1 and Tier 2 driver for example. The Drivers Tiers are set out as follows:

TIER 1 

Max Verstappen (31.5m) Lewis Hamilton (31.0) Charles Leclerc (28.5m) Carlos Sainz Jr. (26.0m) George Russell (25.5m) Sergio Perez (24.5m)

TIER 2 

Lando Norris (17.8m) Pierre Gasly (16.3m) Daniel Ricciardo (15.2m) Fernando Alonso (14.9m) Esteban Ocon (14.5m) Nico Hulkenberg (13.6m) – Hulkenberg in for Vettel

TIER 3 

Lance Stroll (12.0m) Yuki Tsunoda (10.4m) Mick Schumacher (9.8m) Kevin Magnussen (8.5m)

TIER 4 

Valtteri Bottas (6.0m) Alexander Albon (5.5m) Nicholas Latifi (3.7m) Guanyu Zhou (3.5m)

As you can see from the pricing, it is impossible to stack the top drivers from every tier. Doing this will leave you short on budget by 11.6m! So finding the right balance is going to be key in this contest, to ensure you have the drivers you want without hampering your line up too much.

LINEUP SELECTION

TIER 1

The biggest question in tier one for me is simple. Do you feel Mercedes are hiding their pace or not? If the answer to this question is yes, Lewis Hamilton is slightly cheaper than Max Verstappen. However, if you think Mercedes still has a way to go to get their car right, start Max Verstappen. I can only see the winner coming from this duo of drivers, and you will of course want to own the winning driver! So just go with your heart on this one given the similarity in pricing.

The second biggest question is, how balanced do you want your team to be? The Ferrari looked quick in testing last week in Bahrain (around this track) and has consistently looked like one of the more stable cars, with plenty of pace behind them since testing in Barcelona. Charles Leclerc is the more expensive of the two Ferrari drivers, and I think for that reason, I am tempted to drop down a little to bring in Carlos Sainz Jr. This still gives me Ferrari exposure, but frees up a valuable 2.5m to spread elsewhere across the line up. Despite Leclerc being the Ferrari poster boy, Sainz actually finished ahead of him in the driver standings last season. I suspect Leclerc will have a strong year, but Sainz will be right there with him. 

The remaining drivers, Sergio Perez and George Russell, don’t interest me at this stage in the season. George Russell will be one to watch once he becomes more acclimated to the Mercedes machine. But given their prices, I feel much more confident paying up and grabbing one of the Ferrari drivers.

TIER 2

The second tier is probably the most balanced of the 4 tiers to choose from, and poses the biggest headache in the selection process. 

Lando Norris provides exposure to the Mclaren. Though I prefer the price of Ricciardo, the fact he has missed some time in testing due to COVID, just puts me off a little. Lando also has a fantastic record here, with a 6th in 2019, a 4th in 2020 and a 4th in 2021.

I would absolutely love to fit Pierre Gasly into my line up, but I’m just priced out of him a little. Because of that, I will take the drop down to Fernando Alonso. He has had some troubles at this track in recent years, mainly due to car stability (both at Mclaren and Alpine). With that said, I think the Alpine will be competitive this season amidst the middle tier of constructors. Alonso is a savvy veteran, one of the most talented drivers of the past 20 years in my opinion. He does seem to command a little bit more from the Alpine in terms of performance than his team mate Ocon. Alonso is also only 0.4m more than Ocon, you can’t really use that to strengthen elsewhere.

Nico Hulkenberg steps in for Sebastian Vettel. He always races with a chip on his shoulder and arguably does deserve a seat on the grid. However, I have no interest in a stand-in driver in a one off race, regardless of the talent here. In all honesty, I’m also not convinced that the Aston Martin will perform as well as the Mclaren, the Alpine or the AlphaTauri! Testing is only testing, but the Aston looks a little off the pace.

TIER 3

Yuki Tsunoda had his struggles in the AlphaTauri last season. In fairness, he did manage a very respectable 9th at this circuit. I just don’t have the funds to go there unfortunately. 

Instead, we divert our attention to Haas, and driver Kevin Magnussen. I don’t think there’ll be a huge difference positionally between Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, who is talented but evidently still raw as a driver. There’s a difference in price of 1.3m, and I just don’t think there’s enough justification to pay up for Schumacher. This is Magnussen’s return to the sport, and he has raced under the Haas flag previously. The car was quite competitive back in 2018 when he was here, and Magnussen managed a very impressive 5th at Bahrain that year! 

The Haas team I suspect won’t be anywhere near as bad as they were last year. Despite being the cheapest in this tier, I don’t think there is much else on offer in terms of quality to make me adjust my budget for a higher priced driver. 

TIER 4

In an otherwise disappointing season once again for Williams in 2021, Nicholas Latifi appears to be getting more and more comfortable in his seat. He had some bright spots last year with a 7th at Hungary and a 9th at Belgium, far better results than the car is capable of really. I don’t expect the Williams team to take a leap this year, but at this end of the standings, there’s such little difference in terms of gain by finishing position. Alex Albon would again be my preference, but I don’t feel there’s enough of a difference to downgrade elsewhere so that I can afford him.

If you told me last season that Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas would be priced in tier 4 in 2022, I’d have told you that you were crazy. Yet, here we are. The Alfa Romeo poses a much different proposition than the Mercedes (obviously!), and they have looked lacking in pace in testing. 

Bottas’ Team mate, Guanyu Zhou, is a bit of an unknown quantity at this stage in his formula 1 career. He was Alpine’s test driver last season, along with racing in Formula 2, where he finished 3rd in the driver standings. He could be one to watch as the season progresses. But in race one, I will pay the extra 0.2m to Nicholas Latifi and go with what we know!

TEAM REVEAL

I fancy Max Verstappen to get the job done in Bahrain, so I have gone for Red Bull over Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Carlos Sainz Jr. provides me with exposure to Ferrari, which was key for me this week. They have historically done quite well around this circuit. I’m paying down in tier 3 and 4 to ensure I get my guys in tier 2 in Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso. The obvious captain pick is Max Verstappen, who I’m expecting to see atop the podium come 5pm GMT on Sunday!

Best of luck with your line ups this weekend race fans. Hope to see you on the leaderboard.

Nick Owen

Twitter @nickofwigan

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