Charles Leclerc, Game locking and Sprint Qualifying

Welcome to the latest Fantasy GP update following the Monaco Grand Prix and looking ahead to later this season.

25th May 2021

Thank you to all of you for your patience and support over the last few races where we’ve suffered technical issues, some downtime and then many players missed our format change for Monaco with the game closing earlier than normal. It’s not right, we know that and we’ve been working like mad to get things back to the way they should be.

The good news is that following the Monaco Grand Prix we’ve now completed our upgrades and we should return to the normal great service we’ve been running for the last decade. Phew. Again, thank you for bearing with us – it’s not been much fun for anyone.

The curious case of Charles Leclerc

For the Monaco GP, Leclerc got an incredible Pole Position – incredible because at the start of the season, very few F1 fans would have thought a Ferrari would be on Pole ever, due to the dominance of Red Bull and Mercedes, but they did it and it was great to have a change! Sadly, following the crash, Leclerc car was lately withdrawn from the race due to a mechanical issue and never made the actual starting grid.

As per the Fantasy GP game rules, the qualifying result is set from the order of the cars on the grid come lights out on Sunday. If Ferrari had opted to change the gearbox (and there wasn’t a drive shaft issue), Leclerc would have been given a 5 place penalty and lost his Pole Position. But for Monaco, there was a bit of an anomaly – although he didn’t start the race, he also didn’t lose his Pole Position. It’s a bit schrodinger’s cat in terms of the data and numbers that drive the game results.

Following a post GP weekend debrief, Fantasy GP is now awarding 10pts to players who predicted Leclerc for Pole Position. This is in addition to those who predicted Max Verstappen because as the game engine sees it – he had Pole because he was the first car on the grid (regardless of which grid box he was in!).

So in conclusion, if you had predicted Leclerc you’ll now find 10 extra points and updated rankings following Monaco. We’re making this exception because he stayed classified as Pole despite not actually starting the race.

Game locking timings for future races

For the Monaco Grand Prix we closed the game at the start of FP3 instead of the start of qualifying. This was to help protect the game from any downtime with players rushing in to make changes in the narrow window of time between FP3 and qualifying. It’s something we didn’t want to do, but had to do in order to monitor the performance gains from our upgrades.

The good news is that for Azerbaijan and future races, the game will now return to being locked at the start of qualifying, as it should be. We still advise that you put at least some predictions and make any team changes in the week(s) leading up to the race so that you at least have something in for the race weekend. This is simple common sense – in case you are busy or forget before the start of qualifying and also means that if the game should suffer from any downtime due to high demand, you won’t miss out entirely.

In the case of any downtime in future due to the demand, the game will lock at the normal time and remain locked, no more reopening or extensions, so it’s players responsibility to have their team sorted and predictions in nice and early. And then you can always change them after FP3 if needed. If demand is still too high, then we’ll bring in a measure where only paying players can edit after the start of FP3.

In short, get those predictions and team changes in ahead of the race weekend and the game will remain open until the start of qualifying.

Sprint Qualifying later this season

Many players have tweeted or messaged us about the plans around the Sprint Qualifying that’s coming in later this season – if you didn’t know already, a new format is being trialed at 3 events this year where regular qualifying will happen on Friday after a single practice session. Then Saturday will be a short ‘Sprint Qualifying’ race and Sunday will be the regular Grand Prix. The Friday qualifying will decide the starting grid for Sprint Qualifying and the Sprint Qualifying will decide the order for the actual Grand Prix.

As fans of F1 we’re not exactly excited about this new format, mainly because it’s unclear what the change is actually going to bring to a Grand Prix weekend, except a potentially less exciting Grand Prix – but hey, we’re open to change and will reserve judgement until it’s happened, but we’re really struggling to see the point of it all. Speaking of points, the Top 3 from Sprint Qualifying will be given 3, 2 and 1 point to count towards the World Championship too.

For Fantasy Grand Prix this all raises the question around what happens in the game. Firstly, we’re not going to mess with the format – these Sprint Qualifying weekends are a trial and with only 3 of them planned we’re not going to redesign the concept of Fantasy GP. Instead, these 3 weekends will run as per normal – Fantasy GP will lock on a Saturday before the Sprint Qualifying race – so in Fantasy GP terms this remains as Qualifying on Saturday for the Pole Position for Sunday’s race. Our Bonus question will be based around the new format, but other than that it’s should be a pretty smooth process – all players will have lots of information to go from Friday’s qualifying, but the points and predictions for Pole and Qualifying Points will be decided from the Saturday Sprint Qualifying race.

In short – the game format is the same, it will lock on Saturday ahead of qualifying (which will be the Sprint Qualifying Race). Pole Prediction will be for who has Pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix and Qualifying bonus points will be decided based on the results of the Saturday Sprint Qualifying. So, in effect – for Fantasy GP the regular qualifying session on the Saturday will be a race and apart from that, all remains the same.

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