May 23, 2024

FF1M

Fantasy Formula 1 Management

1992 – The Commentator’s Predictions

1992 – the year of the monkey, the year FJR and Shake ‘n’ Bake’s team principals were born, and a year that has the potential to see a large shake-up in the running order for the upcoming classic FF1M season thanks to a spate of technologies available for teams to develop. They offer great performance gains but with some significant disadvantages which can be ironed out with the aid of general knowledge (and attentiveness). As has become tradition of pre-season, all teams will be placed in order of where they might finish, and as usual, they’re probably in completely the wrong order.

11th – Darkfire-Lamborghini

On paper, Darkfire shouldn’t be predicted this far down the order with three-time champion Ayrton Senna returning to the team thanks to a highly lucrative deal and becoming by far the most expensive signing of the season. He should have the measure over Stefano Modena, but the Brazilian looks to be facing a repeat of 1990 as the team missed out on technological advancements pre-season. Combined with unproven and potentially brittle Lamborghini engines, even Senna will be lucky to score points.

10th – JGR Meister-Yamaha

The German team had a respectable return to form last season, although to the surprise of many, it was Mika Hakkinen who outscored highly-rated teammate Nigel Mansell and even scored a brilliant debut win at Barcelona. They would do well to repeat the feat with the returning Gabriele Tarquini, the debuting Ukyo Katayama, and the completely unknown Yamaha engines.

9th – Gojira AutoSport-Ferrari

Gojira had an edge over the field last season thanks to a 70% pole position rate for Senna as well as four wins that helped secure both championships. Prospects for this season couldn’t be more different despite retaining the powerful Ferrari engines, as the Brazilian-Japanese conglomerate have opted for two rookies in Alessandro Zanardi and Karl Wendlinger, and it is likely that Gojira are already looking more towards 1993.

8th – Mitchell-Renault

Despite having one of the more reliable cars last season, Mitchell’s season didn’t quite get going with just one podium finish for Gerhard Berger. Aguri Suzuki’s performance throughout the season was commendable as he was classified in all races. For 1992, Mitchell have gone completely French with the relatively reliable Renault engines and Jean Alesi, and Erik Comas behind the wheel. Podiums are possible, but they may need a bit of fortune along the way.

7th – Tini Racing-Honda

Replacing Team Atlantic are the newest team on the grid, Tini Racing, run by John Warrington, who has previous experience with GP4. This could come into play as the season goes on, but they already appear to have a decent line-up with customer Honda engines, the experienced Martin Brundle, and Andrea de Cesaris, who went well in his two races for Tornado last season. Tini could easily challenge for points, maybe even a podium.

6th – Willows Racing-Ilmor

Despite having the might of the Honda engines last season, Willows had a tough time with Roberto Moreno and Mark Blundell struggling to get to grips, although Blundell’s charge to 3rd at Estoril was a well-deserved highlight. Like Darkfire and JGR Meister, Willows have also gone for new and unknown engines in the form of Ilmor, but their much more experienced line-up of Gerhard Berger and Thierry Boutsen should carry them into a few podium finishes.

5th – FJR-Honda

FJR returned to form last season thanks to a decent car and some determined but bolshie driving from the retiring Nelson Piquet, who just about secured runner-up in the drivers championship at the final race. A few onlookers have noted the team’s strong potential for this season with an all British line-up of Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert, who performed a few miracles with Darkfire last season. It might not be as simple as that with other teams arguably displaying stronger line-ups.

4th – Andrew Racing-Judd

1991 was a write-off for Andrew Racing even before the season began as the team had been saving their money for this season, and they have spent big with Mansell and Riccardo Patrese. It’s a strong line-up that could see this team return to the front, but their Judd engines haven’t been raced since 1990 and proved troublesome, particularly in the hands of FJR. If reliability holds out, then podiums are a strong possibility for this team, maybe even a win.

3rd – Tornado-Renault

Tornado were a bit unlucky not to win either championship with race-ending retirements from the lead and one hugely controversial collision in Estoril that resulted in Michele Alboreto being sacked on the spot. Once again, they have a decent driver line-up for this season as Alain Prost looks to win another championship, and Derek Warwick looks to build on his portfolio of podium finishes. Their customer Renault engines could hinder them in qualifying, but at least they were free of charge!

2nd – Shake ‘n’ Bake-Honda

Like Mitchell, Shake ‘n’ Bake couldn’t make the most of their reliable Renault engines and have switched to works Honda as a result, arguably the strongest in the field. They have also obtained the brilliant Hakkinen and some have touted him to challenge for the drivers championship. Rookie Bertrand Gachot could take a bit of time to get up to speed, and this may prevent a challenge for the constructors championship.

1st – Pedersen-Ford

The popular Danish team performed strongly last season and weren’t too far off of winning the constructors championship but for a few reliability issues and some unusually sloppy driving from Alain Prost. 1992 looks just as promising with Michael Schumacher and Michele Alboreto having kissed and made up after their controversial incident at Estoril to team up once again. Their Ford engines are an unknown quantity however, but if it’s strong, then this team are favourites.