TMR Game – Week 10

Welcome to Week 10 of the Too Much Racing Game!

Apologies for my recent absence and I hope it wasn’t a hindrance, and thanks to Sebastian for compiling some unofficial results for last week! You’ll be pleased to hear I agree with his figures, I will include them here in case you didn’t see the link to those results so in this post you’ll see results from the last two weeks.

Just a word of warning, this is a WRC week and that means an early cut-off. The rally actually runs from Thursday to Saturday. I think it is quite harsh to have everyone pick by Thursday morning especially since I was slightly delayed with this post, so I propose a closing point of 6am UK time Friday morning (11 minutes before that day’s running begins). This does mean people entering Thursday will have a distinct advantage but I don’t know what else to suggest. Thoughts?


Racing this week:
F1 – Malaysian Grand Prix;
WRC – Rally Jordan;

All you have to do is reply to this post and pick up to 10 drivers! The only limit? No more than 7 in one race.

The cutoff is the morning of Friday 2nd April at 5.59am BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1).

For the full results from Weeks 8 and 9, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 10”


Thoughts on F1: Bahrain GP


In 2008 and 2009 I wrote detailed Race Reviews of each F1 race, and some IndyCar and GP2 races, featuring my reaction to events as they unfolded, which I’d taken as short notes then wrote up more fully. These were moderately popular but took a lot of work and I felt I wasn’t enjoying it any more, so for 2010 I’ve decided to give a more loose account of my general impression from each race.

Here is my reaction to the Bahrain GP which I wrote on the Tuesday after the race while away from the internet during my break in Spain. I guarantee I have not edited this so I’m pretty happy Melbourne turned out well! Thoughts on Australia will follow on Wednesday, and similar posts about IndyCar or GP2 or other races may follow eventually depending on time I have available.

Thoughts on F1 – 2010 Bahrain GP

A lot has been said about how boring the Bahrain GP was… so I thought I’d add to it. Since I was watching without live timing and limited access to online discussions – I’m normally all over these like a rash during any big race – I wondered if I was just missing the extra layer of information the internet brings.

Turns out most agreed with me, the race was a snoozefest. Now – you’re going to tell me I wrote about this a few weeks ago. ‘All races are interesting in some way’, was the message wasn’t it?

I did say that, and I acknowledged at the time that you’re always going to get the odd bad race, my main argument was people were calling races boring when they were just looking at them wrongly. I said Valencia ’08 and Abu Dhabi ’09 were exceptions to that because they were dull. We can add Bahrain 2010 to that list.

Prior to the event I’d suspected it would be a bad one after they announced it would be run on the 24-hour course, the tight twisty slow section. I’m sure they did this in response to claims the other layout was stop/start and not challenging enough – what those critics missed is that actually it wasn’t that bad, perhaps below-average but not awful. The extension made it worse by creating field-spread excacerbated by new rules which were always going to do that anyway.

I think future events will be a little better. Albert Park will be its usual self, then Shanghai and Barcelona are always boring but there will be those who pin that on the new rules too.

The problem isn’t with the fuel rules – they’ve brought even more into focus a problem most of us acknowledged in 2009 after several boring races then – the cars cannot pass each other. The new-for-09 aerodynamic rules closed up the laptimes but they did not help overtaking. This is why last year qualifying was usually more fun than the race. Unfortunately there are no quick-fixes. Adding a mandatory second stop may help a bit but as we’ve seen in DTM you’re going to have to bring in pit windows as well to prevent pitting in say the first and last 5 laps. And in DTM the drivers still wait for the stops.

The other problem is teams are preoccupied with saving engines and gearboxes for the next race. I don’t think that makes for good racing. I’m fine with saving fuel and saving tyres as long as the entire field isn’t doing it, if it is a legitimate strategy versus someone pushing.

I’m less interested in ‘turning the engine down’ just so it can be used again. I’m hoping that engines and gearboxes will be developed enough within the restrictions to eventually be able to be pushed and still last a few races.

I enjoy sportscar racing because this is where this type of fuel and tyre ‘conservation’ racing works best – over a really long race lasting many hours, the car with the best mix of speed and reliability will theoretically win. Is it suited to a 90-minute F1 race? I guess we’ll find out over the season but it doesn’t look good so far.

The other thing to note – perhaps this was a dry run while teams test out the rules to see what the limits are? Will they be as conservative by the time we get to Barcelona or will they feel more free to be creative?

I haven’t mentioned the actual performances yet. Vettel’s pace was very impressive until the car problem, and both Ferraris weren’t far behind, I hope we aren’t in for a dominant season from the trio. I thought the McLarens were supposed to be on top? Special mention for Lotus and Virgin for not looking totally hopeless, things look promising in the long-term. HRT… the jury is out but they did a professional job to test the car while staying out of everyone’s way, and they have a LOT of work to do. And a completely anonymous race for M.Schumacher…


1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)  49 laps
2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +16.0s
3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) +23.1s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +38.7s
5. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +40.2s
6. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) +44.1s
7. Jenson Button (McLaren) +45.2s
8. Mark Webber (Red Bull) +46.3s
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India) +53.0s
10. Rubens Barrichello (Williams) +62.4s
11. Robert Kubica (Renault) +69.0s
12. Adrian Sutil (Force India) +82.9s
13. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) +92.6s
14. Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) + 1 lap
15. Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus) + 2 laps
16. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) +3 laps
R. Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber)  hydraulics
R. Bruno Senna (Hispania) hydraulics
R. Timo Glock (Virgin) mechanical
R. Vitaly Petrov (Renault) gearbox
R. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) hydraulics
R. Lucas di Grassi (Virgin) hydraulics
R. Karun Chandhok (Hispania) accident

A lot of hydraulic problems in there. I won’t include a driver points table because it is the same as the top ten. I’m not sure whether to include results and points going forwards..


1. Ferrari 43 pts
2. McLaren 21
3. Mercedes 18
4. Red Bull 16
5. Force India 2
6. Williams 1

TMR Game – Week 9

Welcome to Week 9 of the Too Much Racing Game!

I hope you enjoyed Sebring and Bristol, those who saw or listened to it!

There will be no results this week, I am presently travelling back to the UK from a holiday in Spain (this post was written last week!). I could update this post but then I can’t be sure everyone will see them and I don’t want to do two posts in one week, neither do I want to delay the entry, so I’ll do a double-dose next week.


Racing this week:
Formula 1 – Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia;
IndyCar – St Petersburg, Florida, USA;
NASCAR Cup – Martinsville, Virginia, USA;

All you have to do is reply to this post and pick up to 10 drivers! The only limit? No more than 7 in one race.

The cutoff is Friday 28th March at 11.59pm GMT. Call it midnight Friday night. Good luck! Please note that Europe changes to Summer time on Sunday morning – check your timezones. That goes for everyone, just be sure.

How To Enter

1. Reply to this post.

2. List up to 10 drivers, with no more than 7 from a single event.

3. Send your entry before the stated deadline, usually some time on a Friday. You can make as many changes as you like until the closing point, I’ll take your last entry.

Most weeks feature 2 or 3 races, some weeks may have more than that and some may only have one. There’s not a rule stating you have to choose from each race, any combination of up to 10 drivers is accepted.

Further information can be found on the  game sub-page.

Week 9

There are THREE events this week.

F1 – Australian GP

Bahrain wasn’t a brilliant demo of the new rules, but Albert Park always throws up an oddity of a race so let’s hope it does so this year.

IndyCar – St Petersburg

A visit to Florida and the part-street part-airport circuit in St Pete.

NASCAR Cup – Martinsville

I’m not sure what to say about this one because I tend to lose interest in NASCAR by this stage of the season, when F1 and IndyCar have kicked off, so I’ve never actually seen a race from here.

Further Info

I will be back home at about 9pm UK time. I don’t think I’ll be doing much with the game until tomorrow night, I’ll address any issues then.

Good luck!

TMR Game – Week 8

Welcome to Week 8 of the Too Much Racing Game!

The F1 and IndyCar openers are done and dusted, one was incredibly boring and I hear the other was very exciting although I didn’t get to see it – I’ll catch it another time.

A word of warning – I am out of the country from Wednesday morning until Tuesday evening, so I probably won’t be able to check entries this week or provide scores next week. I’ll schedule an entry post for next Tuesday as normal and you’ll get two sets of results the following week. I’ll check tomorrow at the airport wifi but that may be it!

The other thing is a request for feedback: it was brought up on the Game page that perhaps Okayama may be too obscure a race. I think we’ll see some familiar drivers from the LMS and ALMS there but it may be a valid point. Do we lose it? The other thing was the Macau F3 GP – what do people say to including that, would it add an element of unpredictability to the final week of the game since the only there at the moment is the last NASCAR race, or is it too obscure also?


Racing this week:
American Le Mans Series – 12 Hours of Sebring, Florida, USA;
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Bristol, Tennessee, USA;

All you have to do is reply to this post and pick up to 10 drivers! The only limit? No more than 7 in one race.

The cutoff is Friday 19th March at 11.59pm GMT. Call it midnight Friday night. Good luck! American/Canadian players entering Friday please note that although you’ve switched to Summer time Europe hasn’t yet – check your timezones.

For the full results from Week 7, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 8”

The Games People Play

It is the time of year to start entering various prediction competitions and this year there seem to be far more than ever before. I noticed this partly through my efforts at promoting my own TMR Game, there have been comments from some quarters saying there are too many games this year – and perhaps there are. It is getting difficult to keep track of what’s what and where, so here are the games I plan to play in 2010. I’m not promising to stick with all of them because my memory is terrible – I will do my best.

I’ll start with F1 and move on to IndyCar. Why don’t you let me know what games you’re playing and perhaps I’ll tag along too?

SofaF1 Pole Poll (F1)

A nice easy going game to start from Alex and the guys at SofaF1. For each race you predict who will be on pole and the top ten race finishers (was top 8 last year). You get a point for a ‘near miss’ e.g. predicting 5th but actually comes 4th. Deadline is the start of qualifying, and the prize is a modest trophy… eventually.

I’ve linked to the extra part of the game, where you choose the top 8 (or ten?) finishers in the Championship which is worth double the points of a race. You don’t have to do that part to play the game during the year.

F1 Wolf (F1)

Fairly similar to SofaF1 in that you pick your top ten for each race, as well as driver with pole and fastest lap. There’s also a pre-season choice of championship winning driver, you have until 23.59 GMT Thursday to choose a champion and I’ve linked directly to that page, there should be another thread soon regarding Bahrain’s picks.

This will be my first year playing Wolf’s game, I’ve heard good things from others and I’m looking forward to it. The prize? 3 bottles of Mumm champagne!

VivaF1 – Predictions (F1)

This is a quirky one, my first time playing this too. Pick the pole winner, the race winner, the slowest driver in qualifying, the team that finishes 7th (what??!), and whether any ‘new team’ will finish the race. It looks like these questions may change from race to race which makes things interesting! Note you will have to sign up to the VivaF1 forum to take part.

VivaF1 – Quiz (F1)
Signing up also grants access to the chat area which is the home of the weekly quiz at 8.30pm UK time every Wednesday.

Fantasy Racers (F1) / Fantasy IndyCar / Fantasy WRC

A series of related games where you are given a budget with which to buy drivers, usually enough for 3 good ones or a more varied mix of 4 or 5. I have joined the Sidepodcast-affiliated leagues in all three variations. The prize is a trophy.

Pick several drivers, but you can only pick a driver so many times in the season. Being the official game of the series there are several prizes available although some or all may be US-only. I play in the league – if I were able to play in two leagues without signing up a 2nd time I’d joined the Midweek Motorsport league too. Unfortunately at the time of writing the site is caught in a loop where I’m logged into IndyCar Nation but it won’t let me log in to the game section (and you do need a free login to play).

16thAndGeorgetown Fantasy Racing (IndyCar)

This is the dedicated game-site of the 16th&Georgetown blog. Pick one driver per race – but you may only pick a driver twice per season. You score the points of the position, so if your driver finishes 8th you get 8 points. The player with the least number of points at the end of the season will win a ride in the Indy Race Experience 2-seater IndyCar! Now I can’t collect that prize, not that I’m arrogant enough to think I’ll win it, I’m playing this anyway just for fun because it seems a challenging game (note – I did ask James if I could do this).

is it May yet? Izod IndyCar Series Prognostication Pool of Doom (IndyCar)

This is different. You choose whether drivers will complete 2010 at a higher or lower position than their 2009 ranking in the points table, the number of wins they will have, the number of top tens they will have, and answer some questions. There may be a prize, there may not be.

All-Racing Fantasy League (Multi-series)

This is an email-based game featuring F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, ALMS and GrandAm. You have 14 drivers and may play up to 10 of them per week, on a 5-oval and 5-road course split. The catch is that the drivers are shared among the players and no player may have the same driver as someone else! These facets combine to create a game of strategy. There is a small fee to enter and that creates the ‘pot’ for the winnings at the end of the year.

I’ll add a link to this later, this post took a while to write and I need to get to bed! (sorry Andy!)

TMR Game (Multi-series)

That’s here! It is based on the ARFL with huge thanks to Andy/Speedgeek, and adapted for blog-based entries and adjusted a bit for this blog’s target audience.

I’ve linked to this week’s entry but keep an eye on the blog for updates and there’s also the Game page. Just pick up to 10 drivers per week with no more than 7 from a single race. This week you can have 7 F1 and 3 IndyCar, or 5 from each, or just have 7 from one if you feel like it. It covers a variety of series but don’t worry if you don’t know about some of them, just enter what you’re comfortable with. The prize is merely to declare that you watch too much racing!

Let me know if you play any of these! I hope this prompts you to have a go at some of these games (hopefully mine!), and do let me know what you’re doing, even if I don’t end up playing them I’m interested to know.

TMR Game – Week 7

Welcome to Week 7 of the Too Much Racing Game!

This is the start of the serious business – Formula 1 and IndyCar kick off this weekend and I really hope you play along! Forget the past scores, we’ve got a whole season ahead of us. Let’s go.


Racing this week:
Formula 1 – Bahrain GP, Sakhir;
IndyCar – Sao Paulo Indy 300, streets of Sao Paulo;

All you have to do is reply to this post and pick up to 10 drivers! The only limit? No more than 7 in one race.

The cutoff is Friday 12th March at 11.59pm GMT. Call it midnight Friday night. Good luck!

For the full results from Week 6, read on. I will endeavour to have results up next Monday or Tuesday as I will be away for a week after that, more details below.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 7”

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging

The current run of Thursday Thoughts questions is brought to an end by Maverick from, who asks at this Sidepodcast post:

“Which blog article or articles have you written that you were most pleased with writing and why?”

An interesting choice to move away from racing and to essentially ask why we are doing this, and I’ve enjoyed the other responses from people explaining why they blog and which posts they are proud of.

Two articles immediately spring to mind and they are both very recent ones.

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The Importance of Social Media was a post I wrote about 3 weeks ago about the impact of Twitter on the racing world, from fans to media, to series, teams and drivers. The appearance of Claire Williams of the WilliamsF1 Team at the recent F1 tests armed with a mobile phone and Twitter/Twitpic accounts prompted a frenzy among F1 fans and blogs at the amazing level of access she was granting vicariously to the humble follower. Vision Racing had the same effect on the IndyCar community last season and I had been planning to write a Twitter article for a while on that basis. Claire’s appearance was the perfect excuse.

I liked writing that post because I see that as the purpose of the blog – to take a currently popular issue and look at it from a wider angle. I’m not trying to crow about knowing more about other series, it is just that is where my interest lies. Others prefer to specialise on one thing to the nth degree and that’s great too, I tend to take a broader view without knowing such detail. That post is notable as easily the most-viewed post I’ve ever written, and it got noticed by Vision Racing themselves.

In terms of the pure enjoyment of writing, the post I like the most is Managing Expectations from just a couple of weeks ago. It stemmed from an endless Twitter stream of negative comments over a few weeks, usually during NASCAR races – and because NASCAR runs Nationwide on Saturday and Cup on Sunday each to a good 3+ hours, that meant every weekend evening. It also occurred midweek in general conversation and was took in every series you can name. There were many blog posts too. I’m not singling anyone out, several people were at it.

People were complaining about races being boring before a track had held a race, or because of what had happened last year with no consideration for other years, or the changes made since, or because of what they thought the new IndyCar proposals would do, or boring purely and simply because they weren’t IRL on a 1.5 mile oval.

After a while I realised that people’s expectations had changed – rather than the old-style ‘best man wins’ format, they wanted to watch two hours of constant passing every week from March to November. Racing just isn’t like that for the majority of the time, and it never has been, so I decided to state that case. The next day I was pleasantly surprised to find some excellent comments in response, that it wasn’t just me feeling this way.

Why do I blog?

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Most of the time I blog simply because I feel like writing about something. Sometimes I’m guilty of blogging because I feel I’m expected to. Occasionally I blog because something is eating away at me and I need to get it out, and Managing Expectations was such a post. I felt a wave of relief when it was posted, and it was very pleasing to see the response – it is the posts like this that I like the best. I just don’t feel capable of doing one or two of those every week.

I like compariing similarities and differences between series, to take one idea and expose it to another arena. I also liked it when Mike Conway joined IndyCar and nobody there knew who he was. I was able to say so. Not many people read it because my blog was much smaller at the time, but that’s not the point!

I’ve been looking at the archive to see if there are older posts worth mentioning. For a long time I wrote reports of every F1 race and most IRL races. Unlike other blog’s race notes I was able to provide quite a bit of detail, I think because I can type quickly and because I expanded a set of more basic live notes. I did enjoy those, and in a way I’m sad that I’m not continuing the same format this year, unfortunately they were just too time-consuming.

I used to write shorter blog posts like this one, I miss those and I’m going to bring them back.

Here’s a note on the name of the blog from October 2008 which the people of Sidepodcast may get a kick out of, and yes I was plugging ARFL even then. 🙂

A little over a year ago I wrote about my first impressions of the Daytona 500, having never sat down to watch it before.

I’m also pleased with my posts about visiting BTCC at Silverstone and the Goodwood Festival of Speed parts 1, 2 and 3. I never did finish the FoS reports, there were supposed to be five or six parts. These were as much about the pleasure in the post’s layout as much writing about my experiences, I learned I could lay out photos in what I think is a good design. I’m not sure the layout has transferred correctly to WordPress but it isn’t too bad.

And finally just for posterity, this was my first blog post. Technically it is only the first post on this blog (or rather the old incarnation), in 2005 I had a Live Journal blog when I lived in Scotland, I was supposed to keep it updated with what I was doing so the family could have something to refer to… it didn’t last long and I don’t even know if it still exists.

In closing I’d like to leave a note about Thursday Thoughts itself, and while I’ve not answered the last couple of questions because I’ve either had other things on or I simply didn’t have an answer, on the whole I’ve really enjoyed the series and it was a great idea to encourage people to blog over the off-season. Thanks to Jackie and RG for the idea and to the gang at Sidepodcast for pushing the idea along and hosting the first few questions to get it established. I really hope it returns next off-season!