IGP manager

I started playing a browser game a few weeks ago named IGP manager. I used to play F1 manager games years ago, and after messing about with the castrol grand prix predictor and doing quite well with TheJudge13 blogs crew, I fancied playing another racing manager game, so had a look round google. The only one paid game I found had appalling reviews, until I found IGP manager, which was a free browser based game that seemed to have some really positive stuff said about it. It was an online multiplayer game, which I was a bit unsure about, but it was free to play, so I figured what did I have to loose?

I joined a beginners test league, with about 20 players running a single car each, with only two races left in their current season. I set my team up did all the design and strategy stuff, and by luck or good judgement got two 8th places in my first two races, netting me some cash and xp. Since then, I have practically become addicted, its something I can ponder endlessly, yet it me takes me 20 minutes every couple of days to actually do. That is of course, unless I watch the races live, which of course is now compulsory! I’m not sure what it is that makes manager style games so addictive, but the fine balance of managing your finance, choosing your staff and implementng ideas, then getting to test them out against other individuals is incredibly enthralling. In my third race this year with a little luck and a risky strategy I managed my first race win had me bouncing in my chair, beating a computer was good, beating 19 other players was fantastic, and easily as exciting as watching ‘real’ live sports.

Igp manager

I am seriously considering upgrading to a yearly subscription of £29, just to get access to some of the extra live race features, and livery designer.

IGP manager, its free, what have you got to loose?
http://igpmanager.com/

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Commentating

It struck me watching the Grand Prix coverage on various networks this weekend what a massive difference the actual commentary makes to you comprehension of what is going on and your enjoyment of the event. I’m not sure how much it relates to other sports as I don’t watch them but I suspect it’s the same.

The Sky sports partnership of ex driver Martin Brundle and ‘Crofty’ is a mixed bag. Brundle is an ex-driver with a long career in F1 with many teams, showing good consistency and pace, but with no F1 wins and pretty limited success, but is somehow able to really relate what we are seeing with whats happening behind the scenes, or consequences of some of the choices that are made with tyre strategy. This ‘Crofty’ fella is more your everyman commentator, and actually a bit inane and not much relatable enthusiasm.

The BBC has David Coulthard and Ben Edwards, Couthard is the ex-driver, with slightly more success in various teams, a number of wins, and Edwards does the commentator stuff. Edwards has a lot of enthusiasm, and isn’t bad, but seems to get the wrong end of whats going on sometimes. In an ideal world Coulthards job would be to correct him, which he does 50% of the time, but half the time he has the wrong end of something too, leads to a load of misplaced enthusiasm and some misinformation. A good example of this was Massa and Guitierez spinnin gthe cars out of the two high speed left/right corners in sector two. Coulthard kept going on about them loosing it on the kerb/yellow paint at the outer edge of the track on teh final corner, whereas clearly this wasn’t the case. Antony Davidson, and the next commentators I will discuss, correctly noticed it was the black high grip paint over the white lines earlier in the corner they were loosing traction on, and this was causing them to loose the back end earlier than Coulthard was mentioning, rather than them running wide.

The last lot I listened to were the BBC radio 5 live team: Gary Anderson and James Allen. Now this was a different kettle of fish. Allen does the enthusiastic commentator role, but he does is very, very, well. He spots key points, knows the behind the scenes gossip to add to flavour conversations, and more importantly is on the pulse of technology and social media, even runs his own blog, so is always more informed and up to date than many others… in a way he manages to keep his brain half out of the F1 bubble, which makes for better reporting and commentating. Anderson is not an ex driver, but an ex-technical director, and a likeable Irishman. He delivers very succinct points, and with regards to technical differences between drivers, cars, and tactical strategy and fuel/tyre/track  challenges, he is always on the ball and very sharp.

The differences between these are really brought home on weekends like this weekend where there is some downtime, or delays, specifically this time between qualifying sessions as they delayed the starts. Here, there is no action to commentate on, so the commentary team is forced to ‘fill in’ the live air time. Frankly the BBC team struggled, Brundle did O.K, but his partner ‘crofty’ added nothing, and the BBC5 live team, were great.

It’s the same issue with the links, interview, and behind the scenes crew. Sky’s Antony Davidson, another young ex-driver who didn’t get much opportunity and had little success provides some great analysis of driving technique, accidents, and styles… with a great video highlight tool. Lee McKenzie the BBC’s interviewer is light years ahead of the others in terms of getting responses out of drivers and team members, and I enjoy Ted Kravitz of Sky’s behind the scenes work. Simon Lazenby and Damon Hill do alright for Sky and Natalie Pinkham is tolerable, but the rest are instantly forgettable … especially Johnny Herbert who is downright irritating.

Someone out there please employ the following people:

  • Commentary: Martin Brundle
  • Commentary: James Allen
  • Commentary Technical interjection/post race analysis: Gary Anderson
  • Race analysis/driver strategy: Antony DAvidson
  • Interviews/Reporter: Lee McKenzie
  • Interviews/Pit Reporter: Ted Kravitz
  • Anchor:  Simon Lazenby
  • Post race analysis and co-anchor to Simon: Lets have Damon Hill

Man that looks great, not an idiot in sight, you would have my business.

The thing is, with the increase in social media and blogging, inane comments or mistake on air look more and more stupid, when a higher standard of commentary and journalism can be found on free or ‘amateur’ blogs and sites such as thejudge13SomersF1, or ScarbsF1 sites, you begin to question why some of these people are being paid what they are by companies like the BBC and Sky? It surprised me how much my enjoyment of the race differed between the various commentators, I shall when I have the choice in future be turning the sound down and listening to radio 5 live for my commentary.

Vettel and Hamilton in F3

Came across this the other day whilst bumbling around on youtube. Some old school Formula 3 action between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, of course now Formula One drivers and World Champions, Vettel a double, and if this year carries on the way it seems to be going, a triple champion, and Lewis still chasing his second title.

A great little scrap, and shows both the drivers qualities off well.

Ecclestone to load a mountain of debt on F1.

Superb piece by thejudge13 on F1 and its future

thejudge13

It’s not possible to in a single article convey the mess that is F1 and its financial arrangements, and I’m not feeling inclined to write a book. Yet there are severe storm clouds on the horizon for F1 and it appears the governing body and the teams are oblivious to this.

The Korean Times reports the organisers’ of the F1 race are facing again huge losses. It is claimed they have avoided the contractual 10% escalation in fee from last year but still have a total budget of $67.5m to find.

The national government picks up about $5m and the rest is shouldered by the South Jeolla provincial government. Of course there is the ticket receipts, but the event has not been a raging success with mass crowds attending. The losses the provincial government has had to fund are 2010 $65m and in 2011 $54m. With a contract to 2016…

View original post 1,342 more words

Kamui!

Great to see two guys pulling it out of the bag when they needed to. Massas future is under threat at Ferrari, and Kamui at Sauber, the latter, to my mind, totally unjustified. 2nd and 3rd for them in Japan is an awesome result, especially Kamui, only the third Japanese driver to get a podium, and his first at his home Grand Prix! Kamuis qualifying at Spa was amazing, and if it wasn’t for Grosjeans crash, who knows, but this time, Grosjean took someone else out, and Kamui cashed the points in, the noise the crowd made was awesome!

Great result over all, Alonso retired, which spices the championship up, unfortunately Vettels winning it, means it could well mean he runs away with it again, but we’ll see. Lewis and Jenson 4th and 5th, and Raikkonen in 6th, means though Vettel is now only 6 points short of Alonsos championship lead with 5 races and 125 points remaining, Raikkonen is only 37 behind and Lewis 42, which though tough is certainly possible. Webber and Button at 60 and 63 behind I reckon are finished now, it’s a 2 way fight, with a couple of cheeky outsiders from here on in, and you’d have to say, if it’s not Vettel or Alonso, then my money is on Lewis as he has the car and the pace to do it. Raikkonens position is still impressive, it’s a decent car, but not a consistent race winner. You gotta hand it to him though, despite having no victories, the fact he has finished every lap this year so far, kept out of trouble, and kept in the points, has put him at the sharp end.

Coming up we got the Korean, Indian and Abu Dhabi Races, with the New American Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and Brazil rounding us out. Given our imminent new arrival, I may well get a chance to be up at unsociable hours watching some of them too!

Hamilton leaves McLaren… so why the shitstorm?

Its been the hot topic in F1 for the past…forever. What is Lewis Hamilton going to do in 2013. It is a multi-million pound game of musical chairs, and he had his finger hovering on the pause button. Today it got pressed, and against most people idea of sense, Lewis Hamilton is leaving McLaren to go to the floundering Mercedes team for three years for 2013. I for one think its exciting.

There has been a lot written on various blogs, news articles, and especially comments sections over the past 12 hours, most of it griefing and trolling. It doesn’t help that his cool image attracts a lot of fair weather fans, who tend to be more akin to boorish football fans, than your usual tempered Motorsports fans. This in turn seems to antagonise traditional fans against them, and Lewis, so its lead to a bit of a flame fest.

I have heard a variety of nonsense from his detractors and former fairweather fans; ‘he’s betraying his country’, or ‘the team that put faith in him’. As well as other gems like: ‘McLaren will be better off without him’, and ‘its all about the money and fame’. Some have had the temerity to suggest that now we’ll see what a poor driver he is when he is in a slower car.

Questioning his ability is, quite frankly, ridiculous. McLaren are clearly are not better off without, and that is why they tried so hard to keep hold of him, and he has beaten enough of his team mates in the past, including double world champion, and this years probably champion Fernando Alonso, to be pretty clear he has a phenomenal ability.

As for the fame, money, and lack of loyalty? Well, for a start you could level half these accusations, and worse, at pretty much any F1 driver you’d care to mention, but for some reason he gets it in the neck worst. I still can’t fathom why. I have heard plenty of explanations; ‘its racism’, ‘he’s arrogant/spoilt/petulant’, ‘overrated’… so on. Yeah perhaps, but I’m not buying most of it. I think a lot of the time people like to judge others harshly to show themselves in a better light, in sports especially.

Does he owe McLaren loyalty? Well they certainly gave him chance and opportunities, and he repaid them with an amazing first year with a phenomenal record of podiums and wins, and nearly becoming world champion, and in his career with them; 20 wins, 48 podiums, 24 pole positions, and the world drivers championship in 2008. So I would hardly call it an altruistic gesture on McLarens part, had he been a potato that struggled to get a podium, he’d have been out on his ear. The last three years he has consistently performed better that his team mates and won races, with the exception of 2011, where Button beat him by 43 points (270/227), but not by wins or outright speed.

As for the money, I for one will not begrudge him it. (Nor will I harp on about him being a tax dodger for moving abroad like some, because A) I probably would if I was that rich, and B) every damn person on the F1 grid has done this with the exception of Mark Webber, who lives in the U.K, and he’s Australian! and C) its his life and money. Where some people get off with their sanctimonious attitude towards other people money and affairs I do not know). Besides, I don’t think this motivated him much anyway, and Ross Brawn has indicated he hasn’t been offered more.

On the flip side, we have had some down right silly fan boy defences of the move ‘McLaren let him down’ and ‘he is under appreciated’, puurlease. The relationship went sour, sometimes it does. James Allen of Sky and the BBC nailed it; if he had signed for another year or more, it would have been the equivalent of staying together for the kids.

Lewis needs a new challenge, perhaps he will find out he’s not the fastest, perhaps he will regret seeing his old team out qualify him, but he will be able to be proud of what he achieves in the way that Schumacher did after moving to the flailing Ferrari in 1996. Perhaps the accusation that he never had to work for it will go away, but I doubt it. I think he is looking to move his career along, and to work with the likes of Ross Brawn, to create something for, and of, himself. McLaren have drivers, Alonso is Ferrari, as Schumacher was before him, and I think Hamilton wants that too, to build HIS team.

I am looking forward to next year. It will be fantastic to see Mexicos Sergio Perez in Lewis’s old seat I think that was a brave and inspired choice by McLaren, his performance in the Sauber this year has certainly earned it. At Mercedes, I think it will be a learning curve for Lewis, Nico, and the team, a chance to develop as a partnership and pick up a few wins with any luck, and my eyes will be on 2014 (when there are new car and engines regs) and 2015 with some optimism to seeing the Silver Arrows at the front. I’ll still be a McLaren fan, and pleased when Jenson wins a race too, the beauty of motorsports fans (outside of Italys tiffosi) has always been their ability to appreciate and applaud performance above and beyond theri own personal preference. I am, and will remain, a huge Lewis Hamilton fan, his driving and racecraft is exciting, sometimes its not always the cleanest or the best, but often the lows and the mistakes make the highs even better.