Fantasy F1: On The Grid!

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Fantasy Formula One is back – and here’s your chance to find out who should be in your team for the opening race of the season in Australia this weekend.

2006 San Marino GP Grid Girl - 0

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Here’s the basics of the game, which could not be simpler to play.

– You choose three drivers for each race – one from Group A and two from Group B – plus a team.

– The top eight finishers in the race receive 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 fantasy point respectively plus there is a bonus point for any driver leading at any point during the race and a bonus point for completing the entire race.

The top three drivers in qualifying will earn 3, 2 and 1 point respectively meaning each driver can receive a maximum of 15 fantasy points during each race and each team can earn a maximum of 27 fantasy points per race.

– Each driver and constructor can be an active member of your team in no more than four races.

This means with 18 races scheduled you will have to use at least five of the elite seven Group A drivers at some point in the season and also at least nine of the 15 Group B drivers.

It also means that you have to pick five of the 11 F1 teams and herein lies the great dilemma of the game – who should I pick for each race?

Shall I pick all the big names early on to get to the top of the leaderboard; Which teams perform well on which tracks; which teams will improve as the season progresses.

The deadline to create a team for each race is 8am local time on the day of qualifying which means you must have your entries in by 0130 GMT on Saturday morning.

FOUR FOR MELBOURNE:

It is a pretty fair assumption that virtually every manager will use their full allocation of McLaren (average of 19 fantasy points per race last season) and Ferrari (17.58) slots during the season.

With six wins in the last nine years in Victoria and impressive form in pre-season testing, using one of your Ferrari selections early on looks a shrewd call.

Only the ultra-brave will be selecting Super Aguri (1.64), Toro Rosso (1.41) or Force India this early in the season so if you want to hold back one of your big cards then perhaps try Williams – the fifth best team last term (3.47) but one whose new car has been quick and reliable and one who has six podium finishes in Melbourne in the last decade.

Your selection of drivers should follow the same philosophy and you can’t look too far past defending champion and 2007 winner Kimi Raikkonen the second best Fantasy performer last term with a 9.17 average per race – who has an additional three podium finishes in Australia.

Team-mate Felipe Massa (8.41 avg in ’07) starts on equal terms, will be a big rival and will undoubtedly win races but has nothing in the way of course form – just a sixth place to show from four starts albeit the first two with Sauber.

So what about the B group drivers with Fernando Alonso joining the McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber drivers in Group A.

The fact that McLaren wanted Nico Rosberg (1.94) as a replacement for Alonso speaks volumes about his talent.

Williams’ success in retaining him shows they still mean business and the Finn should improve on his seventh place last season.

Kazuki Nakajima starts his first full season and has already shown that he has the speed but if you don’t want to put all your eggs in the Williams basket then how about David Coulthard.

Reliability should be much-improved after a shocking 2007 in which he averaged 1.47 per race and the Adrian Newey-designed car has shown a fair turn of speed while the Scot knows all about the layout, having won twice in Melbourne before.

Before every race we will give you the definitive guide of who is hot and who is not whilst within the game there is a Driver Performance Table – a stats tool showing you the top fantasy performers for each race of the season – and a Driver Distribution Table showing you how many managers are picking each driver.

And click on the link under the picture to visit the Fantasy Grand Prix message board and find out what your fellow managers are saying about the season.

So join up now, form a mini-league with friends, family or colleagues, watch your progress in your national league and you may find yourself at the top of the Grid!

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