You’ve had plenty of time to think about prospective line-ups and potential driver or team changes between Bahrain and Imola, but who should you be looking at for round two of the 2021 season?
There’s more to keep on top of too beyond practice sessions, with dynamic pricing allowing you to bank funds for your picks and help raise your budget beyond the original $100million you started with.
There has been plenty of change since Bahrain on that front, and the pecking order could be a little bit different in all-important qualifying and race sessions.
Luckily, the deadline for changing your team is between the end of FP3 and the beginning of qualifying, giving you plenty of time to tinker with your line-up and mull over Tsunoda or Seb, McLaren or Mercedes.
Here are a few considerations to make ahead of the 2021 Imola Grand Prix for your F1 Fantasy line-ups.
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So we’ve now had a chance to see the cars on track for the first time this weekend at Imola and there are a few tweaks that should already be in mind following FP1 and 2.
While McLaren was quick during practice for Bahrain, it looks like the team has slumped versus Ferrari that looks to be very quick despite Charle Leclerc’s crash at the end of practice two.
Both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz were setting respectable times on the medium and soft compounds respectively and could be a good call to bring into your team ahead of qualifying.
At the front, Mercedes looks rapid but we’ve yet to see a true representation of Red Bull’s ultimate pace. Reliability issues for Max Verstappen put him out of the hugely important FP2 session when conditions are at their most representative ahead of the race, while Sergio Perez did not set timing screens alight on mediums during race runs.
It’s early at this stage but Mercedes looked most comfortable on the medium tyres, which the drivers are likely to spend the majority of the race on when Sunday rolls around. Funds on a Mercedes asset could work this week, but it’s an expensive gamble so be warned.
Following the first race the F1 picture is looking a little clearer and there has been a shift in pricing to reflect the results in Sakhir.
The biggest changes are Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda being 0.5m more expensive than in week one, while the AlphaTauri and Ferrari teams have risen by 0.4m as well.
Other risers include Lando Norris (0.3m), Max Verstappen (0.3m) and Red Bull (0.1m).
After his shocker first weekend, Sebastian Vettel is the biggest faller between rounds one and two, dropping in price by 0.7m from his original value. Aston Martin had the biggest drop on the team front, losing 0.6m in value ahead of Imola.
Interestingly, there has been a drop for Mercedes, with all three assets falling in value after Bahrain despite taking the win. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have dropped down by 0.1m while the team is down 0.2m. All three were already hefty investments that took funds away from the rest of your team, but if the trend continues could you squeeze one in?
There are plenty of other assets that have fallen too. Daniel Ricciardo (0.4m), Fernando Alonso (0.4m), Alpine (0.4m), Esteban Ocon (0.2m), Lance Stroll (0.2m), Carlos Sainz (0.1m), KimiRäikkönen (0.1m) and Nikita Mazepin (0.1m) all drop down in value.
One thing to keep in mind is transfers post-race. With a subs bank allowing you to fully swap out your team one race to the next should you have enough moves banked, then a quick swapping out of an asset that’s likely to lose value is a good idea if you have another driver or team you want to move to.
You can’t go wrong with one of the Red Bull drivers this weekend. Both Verstappen and Sergio Perez were among the better performers at Imola last season and the RB16B looks as though it’s the strongest car in the field.
Verstappen is the likelier candidate of the two for a pole and victory but Perez is kinder on the budget if you’re looking to fit in other assets from the higher-end of the price scale.
For a less expensive option, one of the AlphaTauri drivers could be worth picking for the Imola GP. The team was unfortunate to not achieve a double-points finish in Bahrain after Pierre Gasly’s first-lap contact with Ricciardo, but Yuki Tsunoda showed that there’s decent pace in the AT02.
Ones to watch
Ferrari versus McLaren was a tightly-fought battle in the first race of the season. Charles Leclerc’s impressive qualifying lap put the Scuderia ahead on the grid but the Italian team couldn’t hold back Lando Norris on race day.
Imola has a tough act to follow after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix but things are finely poised for another great weekend of F1 action from front to back. Mercedes…
Ricciardo and Sainz were still getting to grips with their new homes and were a step behind their respective team-mate’s pace, so it could be a good move to stick with either Norris or Leclerc if you’re looking for a driver from either team. The McLaren driver is up to $13.4m while Leclerc has risen even more now priced at $17.3m. Jumping on either driver might be a good longer-term move too.
Alonso looked like his usual self in outperforming the car he’s driving. Alpine isn’t quite at the races versus its midfield rivals right now but the two-time champion marked his F1 return with a strong qualifying performance and decent opening stint before brake troubles put him out. At $15.2m, the Spaniard is a little steep in price for potential returns based on other assets but if Alpine can improve going forward, he’ll be a worthwhile pick.
Ones to avoid
Aston Martin’s complaints over the first weekend about the new regulations impacting the low rake cars it and Mercedes have opted for doesn’t bode well for the immediate future.
Both Vettel and Stroll were cut well adrift of the midfield pack in terms of pace and while the team has more funding than in its Racing Point days, the 2022 regulation changes on the horizon limit the viability of substantial improvement.
Vettel’s opening salvo post-Ferrari was disappointing at best, embarrassing at worst and the four-time champion looks a shadow of his former race-winning self. Your $15.5m can be better spent elsewhere.
Haas has already stated it won’t be working too seriously on its ’21 car and the first race was hardly a ringing endorsement for its car and its drivers. Mazepin and Mick Schumacher both suffered spins in a car that looks a handful and one that won’t be getting easier to handle. Stay away.
Williams says its car is heavily influenced by wind direction and that its struggles in Bahrain were down to the strong winds all weekend. George Russell has been capable of the odd Q2 performance and despite the tighter competition in the lower midfield, no Williams asset is likely to win you many points.