Posted: May 15, 2013 in sport, wargames
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_1679 I’ve been playing historical solitaire seasons for a few years now and as my original campaign began at 1958, I decided to start over back to the inaugural F1 season.

I used the historical drivers and cars of the time, using an arbitrary simple seeding system by way of available wear points depending on how they actually performed during that season. For example Farina in his Alfa Romeo had 20WP’s to allocate whereas Harrison in his uncompetitive ERA just 8WP’s. No more science than that as I needed to keep the game simple.

Where possible I used the actual circuits of the time. Having a full set of boards helped as well as the online BGG resources for some of the unpublished circuits. Where none were available I used an alternative that seemed most appropriate to use whether geographical or approximate course similarity. Grids were based on historical ones also thus some courses had 3 cars next to each other on each starting grid.

The scoring system was based on the historical one, 1st = 8pts, 2nd = 6, 3rd = 4, 4th= 3 & 5th = 2. To cater for the fastest lap point without resorting to a stop watch, I gave the bonus point to the lap leader on the 1st lap. Only the best 4 results count in the 6 race campaign. US Indianapolis was not used as most drivers did not enter.

All races were of 3 laps and the field was limited to 20 cars. All standard & advanced formula de rules except time trials and soft tyres were used. The following link takes you to the speadsheet beauty I use for this game.

F1 Results 1950

Silverstone – The Alfa Romeo’s only qualify mid position and get slowed by avoiding an accident and debris at the first corner. Louis Chiron pulls ahead and earns the lap leader point by being in first place after the 1st lap. Luigi Fagioli is the big name retirement early on. Surprisingly as the weather changes mid race to rain there are no more serious accidents and just privateer Cuth Harrison in his ERA is the only injury to add to that of Eugene Chaboud during qualifying. 14 cars finish with Louis Rosier taking the win in his Talbot from unfancied Dorino Serafini’s Ferrari and Chiron’s Maserati. No points for any of the Alfa Romeo drivers.

Monte-Carlo – A sunny race, I expected high driver attrition but it didn’t materialise and 14 finished. The Alfa’s must have been smarting from the previous race as despite modest qualifying positions all 4 locked out the top 4 positions, joint favourite Giuseppe Farina taking the win and bonus point, Juan Manuel Fangio 2nd, Reg Parnell 3rd and Fagioli 4th. Serafini’s Ferrari picked up the last points paying place.

Bremgarten – Changeable conditions including rain and the nature of the course with lots of 5th and 6th gear opportunities saw the field reduced from 20 starters to just 11 cars starting the 2nd lap. 5 of the 11 drivers picked up injuries, which were serious enough for Chaboud, Emmanuel de Graffenried & replacement Pierre Levegh to rule them out for the rest of the season. Car failures continued into the 2nd lap with race leader Farina coming to grief after his engine gave out. Rival Fangio took full advantage of his misfortune to take his first win. Rosier took 2nd and Alberto Ascari claimed his first points of the campaign finishing 3rd.

Spa-Francorchamps – Anyone who has raced this classic circuit knows what a challenge it can be so spare a thought for some drivers who lined up with just 8 WP’s for a 3 lap race, (2 tyres, 2 brakes and just 1 point of everything else.) I expected carnage especially with changeable conditions again and 5 replacement drivers in 8WP cars but despite some spectacular DNF’s 8 cars managed to get round. Unsurprisingly the top 3 seeded Alfa Romeo’s all finished in the points, Ascari’s Ferrari was unable to hold off 2 of them after the first lap and he had to settle for 3rd behind Fangio winning again & Farina bouncing back to take 2nd .

So after the 4th race just 8 drivers still stood a chance of taking the championship.

8th Reg Parnell – Alfa Romeo – 4pts
7th Luigi Fagioli – Alfa Romeo – 7pts
6th Dorino Serafini – Ferrari – 8pts
5th Alberto Ascari – Ferrari – 9pts
4th Louis Chiron – Maserati – 11pts
3rd Louis Rosier – Talbot – 14pts
2nd Giuseppe Farina – Alfa Romeo – 16 pts
1st Juan Manuel Fangio – Alfa Romeo – 22pts

Rheims – This race separated the men from the boys with just 6 finishers. Only 3 of the top 8 completed 3 laps. Once more the changeable conditions and rain played havoc with tyre management especially early on. Fagioli was well ahead at the start but couldn’t sustain his push after pitting on the 3rd lap. Rosier had a horrific crash on the 2nd lap that he was fortunate to survive but that ruled him out of the final race. The first privateer driver scored points in this race, Johnny Claes in a Talbot took 5th but the real news was at the front where Farina had taken his 2nd win ahead of Fangio to set up a final 2 car shoot out.

Monza – In front of a partisan crowd just the top 2 drivers had the chance of lifting the trophy. The maths could be complicated with Fangio on 28 points and Farina on 24. As only counting your top 4 results, Fangio could only add to his score if he won the race. For Farina to overhaul him though, he would have to finish ahead of Fangio in at least 2nd place unless he could secure the bonus point when 3rd would do. So with a circuit that really punishes you if you pit and your opponent doesn’t, the race began. At the end of the first lap Farina had indeed secured the bonus point but was followed closely by Fangio. If it ended this way, the laurel wreath would go to Farina. With no concerns about the weather the course favoured cars that could push hard and not worry so much about overshooting tyre wear. But at the start of the 2nd lap at the 2 stop Retifilio chicane debris was covering all 3 lanes making suspension damage a concern to all drivers. Farina and Fangio successfully negotiated the corner but Fangio picked up suspension damage and overshot the corner badly, behind him more cars added to the debris on this corner. Farina must have sensed this was his chance as a series of spectacular dice rolls saw him land in each corner direct from the last one while Fangio began to slip and had to downshift on 2 corners. The 3rd lap was more of a victory lap for Farina as Fangio had to pit to repair his car. So in the end Farina won by a very big margin from a despondent Fangio in 2nd who failed to collect any points. Final score Farina 33, Fangio 28.

So history repeated itself but in a satisfyingly different way in the end. Next the 1951 season with new circuits and new drivers, Stirling Moss commencing his career in a very dodgy HWM and Froilan Gonzalez joining Ascari to lead the Ferrari challenge. Farina although the reigning champion will find that 3 other drivers have more WP’s than him and that holding onto his title might prove even harder than winning this one.

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