F1 Fantasy: How to win and top tips from the 2023 champion

Sam Cooper

F1 Fantasy returns and you can join the PlanetF1.com league.

We’ve sat down with 2023’s F1 Fantasy winner to see what tips we should all be following…

David Jurca’s team BringBinottoBack won by just five points in 2023 and while the former Ferrari team principal is still sadly out of the F1 paddock, it represented a great season for David.

Coming from an investment background, David was able to apply similar strategies to the game and has shared some with us to help you with picking your team. Once you have followed David’s advice, be sure to join the official PlanetF1.com league ahead of the season starting this weekend.

1.) Experiment with budget drivers

We all know how it goes, you are so eager to make your team and pick the best drivers then suddenly you find yourself with $2.3 million left of your $100 million budget and three spots left to fill.

But while it can be tempting to focus on the high-profile stars, David believes there is value to be found in the cheaper options.

“So the interesting part this year is I think that the prices, they’re higher for the trophy assets,” David said. “And so I think you’re not going to be able to load up on just a bunch of Red Bull assets now.

“[In 2023] I started with Zhou Guanyu. He was a really good budget driver in that he would make up a lot of places. That and he didn’t have a lot of DNFs.”

And 2024’s game certainly has a few budget options to consider. The likes of Zhou and team-mate Valtteri Bottas are valued far less than others and could be a great differential for your team.

2.) Know the rules and don’t ignore the constructors

Just as it can be easy to pick the most expensive drivers, it can be similarly easy to ignore the two constructors that make up your team – but David believes that is a trap many will fall into.

The 2024 rules show constructors can earn 10 points from qualifying, 10 points for the fastest pit stop and the combined total of both their drivers which can add up to a significant number over a season.

“I think it depends on how it’s priced,” David said of the constructor v driver argument. “I think you want to think about it as points scored per dollar.

“So you get bonus points for your two constructors for both drivers finishing in the top 10.

“I think you’re going to probably end up having to choose Red Bull as a constructor or Verstappen as a driver and then you’re really going to have to go with some really cheap assets, if you’re going to want to go with some of those. So I think you’re gonna want to think about what, what could they score per dollar spent? And sometimes with the points, the way it’s priced, constructors are really where you want to spend your money.”

3.) Double up on strong assets

In the investment world, it is often said you should diversify your portfolio but in F1 Fantasy, it can be more beneficial to do the opposite.

With the ability to pick three assets from one team, you should feel comfortable going all in if you believe a team is going to come good.

“It was Red Bull assets and Aston Martin assets,” David said of his 2023 team. “It was Alonso and Stroll and Verstappen and Perez and then Zhou Guanyu.”

Of course, the pricing in 2024 makes replicating that strategy more difficult but if a team looks like a strong favourite and is affordable, you should go for it.

4.) Think with the head not the heart (and read PlanetF1.com!)

David comes from an investment background, so perhaps finds it a little easier to look at his team in the cold light of day than the rest of us, but following sense rather than a gut feeling is crucial to doing well in the long run.

“So I invest on behalf of an insurance company so in a way, I think about things statistically and the way that I would approach F1 Fantasy was thinking ‘well, what strategies can maximise my probability of success?’

“I think the top 1,000 were thinking that way. I don’t think anyone was playing by heart in that group.

“I’m a fan of the sport. So I started karting when I was eight years old and became the number one ranked karting driver in North America. So I’m a fan of the sport and then I just naturally read PlanetF1.com for instance.

“So I know someone might have a penalty in qualifying because I just naturally am paying attention. The added work for me was the key thing.

“So I’d say ‘okay, well, drivers falling backwards, lose points. So I don’t want a good qualifier, who’s then going to fall backwards in the race?’ The perfect example is Haas.

“How do you kind of determine that? You can go to F1.com and they have the analytics that shows the race pace simulation, qualifying pace simulation.

“And so I would want to avoid drivers that look like they’d have a good qualifying and then, you know, their race pace wasn’t great and vice versa.

“Sergio Perez being who he was, you know, not qualifying well, actually wasn’t a bad thing, oftentimes even moving up.”

5.) No knee jerk reactions

Another crucial tip is not to be too trigger happy when it comes to transfers and David revealed just how long it was before he made any changes to his team.

“I think the key for last year was actually not doing too much, maybe all the way until Silverstone,” he said.

“There were just some pretty big judgement calls. I told you I was Aston Martin and Red Bull in the beginning and then in Hungary I switched from Aston Martin to McLaren and also switched my pairing of Alonso and Stroll to Norris and Piastri. So I really doubled down on McLaren and I happened to time that really really well.

“But if I had waited until two or three races to really feel like they’ve shown that they can compete in those positions, I mean, I won by five points so for sure I had to make that call correct.”

PlanetF1.com’s recommended reading

As F1 returns, is winning the first race crucial to becoming the World Champion?

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6.) Use chips wisely

Another key aspect of the game are the chips or modifiers to your race weekend.

In the 2024 game, there are six chips to be used throughout the year.

The Autopilot will change the DRS Boost selection and give it to the highest scoring driver in your team, if that turns out to be different to your original choice.

The Extra DRS boost chip will give one driver a 3x boost rather than the usual 2x.

The No Negative chip will mean none of your team can score below zero.

The Wildcard lets you make an unlimited number of changes to your team, staying within the cost cap. The Limitless will do the same but only for one weekend and without a price cap.

While the Final Fix chip will allow you to make a change between quali and the race.

David said using these effectively is crucial to success.

“To maximise my success, I would use sprint races and use my chips on those.

“I used my 3x on Verstappen and I did that at the Dutch Grand Prix. That was a sprint race, right, so you have more opportunities to score points to then multiply that by three and to add to that, he had a penalty and so he gets points for qualifying first, but then he starts fifth or sixth because of the penalty. And then the positions gained are points and you can multiply that by three and that was a key approach and mine.

“I also was wise and didn’t necessarily use my chips early on just to try to get the points.”

7.) Be lucky!

The final tip is unfortunately not one any of us can control but is needed if you want to replicate David’s success and that is just being lucky. The McLaren call we mentioned is one of the times fortunes was on David’s side but it happened again later in the year.

“I would use sprint races and use my chips on those but then I went against that in Monza where I used Limitless,” David conceded.

“You have an unlimited budget and so, again, if I was thinking, statistically, then I would want to use it at a sprint race and use all the most expensive assets because they will be able to score multiple times. But I just found my gut told me that in Monza, I really felt like Ferrari was on it.

“And so what I ended up doing was Red Bull assets and all Ferrari assets and then I think I used Lewis.

“I think I ended up having five drivers in the top six and that worked in my favour and that was a huge points score for me. I don’t think a Limitless on any of the sprint races would have given you as many points as that weekend. So there is some judgement in it but I was lucky as well.”

Read next: Who to pick and who to avoid as F1 Fantasy launches for 2024 season