Tale of a Career Season 5David O’Reilly FigjamRACER leaves Williams and joins Mercedes AMG Game Mode Expert 75% dist, Cockpit view.Introduction: Authors note: I have written this story to hopefully share the fun of a dramatic culmination to a 5 season career in the game. It’s also to provide some tips and help done in an entertaining format. It is comprised of two main sections per race and two other subsections. Part one- The facts: Some specific data and key race information. Also includes some strategy notes about the track eg: Track Data such as preferred (dry) strategy eg O/O/P. AI Pace: AI Strategy, Tyre wear and fuel use. The author has tested the relative pace of Primes vs Options on both high and low fuel for every track. It results in an important little piece of data; the “relative prime penalty”. In some tracks this penalty is bigger on high fuel in others it’s bigger on low fuel. We try to use primes where they penalise us least! For examples in Melbourne the penalty on high fuel is .5 sec and on low fuel 1.0 sec so we use them first. Malaysia is the opposite so we start on options. China punishes prime runners in stint 3. These findings are inherent in the recommended strategy. This type of information may be of interest to readers with a technical bent or those looking for an edge in their f1 2011 career. Part two-The narrative: The story of the race. How it unfolded stint by stint. How it felt from the drivers perspective. I will try to be succinct but hey I get into it and I like writing so if it’s not for you stick to part one ok. Game observations and tips will also be made from time to time. And finally... The Hyperbole or Storyline- This is pure fantasy where the author takes actual in-game events and adds poetic license with interviews, drama or background stories some transposed from real life and others plausible scenarios the game forgot to elaborate on that probably could have happened. This is for readers of drama and fiction. If it’s not for you the same advice applies as above! Background and the tail end of season 4: 4 Seasons with Williams. Our driver has helped develop the car from a mid pack finisher to by season 3, a more competitive car. Previous seasons have seen 2-3 wins only on soft AI tracks (Sepang, India) and strong favourite tracks (Monaco).WDC results from about P8 to P5. Rubens has been well outperformed which puts paid to any lofty WCC aims. Political problems occur in season 4 when our car seems to have stalled in development and no quicker than season 3. Rubens Barrichello however has a big form improvement and starts out qualifying our driver by significant margins. By race 16 Rubens has out qualified him 13-3. Our driver sees this as a problem and does not fully appreciate that it almost guarantees a Constructor title if he performs well. Drives are offered by Lotus Renault and then Mercedes AMG. Our driver faces a quandry: what will the Williams car be like in season 5? Will it improve or has it reached its development potential? The season 4 Williams in our drivers’ hands struggles to make Q3 but Rubens is regularly on the front row! There are other issues. Our driver has outraced Rubens but he is 10 points behind Vettel going into race 15 the Japanese Grand Prix and wonders if the Williams can bring the Drivers title at all. There is also the small matter that even if it does succeed then still to be a true legend one needs to win the WDC in more than one team. (game award). Further, if he changes teams then which one will give him a winning car but also great racing. eg: a Red Bull would win almost every race. A decision is made after the Japanese Grand Prix where Rubens wins, Vettel P2 and our driver is P3. Here follows the press conference after Japan as reported by “The Blown Diffuser” The following interview by Chief Reporter David O'Brundle takes place at Japan in career season 4 for David O'Reilly. He has raced for all 4 seasons with Williams. Interviewer: We are here at Suzuka where earlier today Williams enjoyed a double podium with Rubens Barichello the race winner and Sebastien Vettel spoiling the chance of a Williams 1-2 by coming second. The team are in fact leading the Constructors Championship with a slender gap over RedBull. This is due in no small part to a stunning season from a seemingly re invigorated Rubens Barrichello. Rubens quailfied on the front row whereas David O'Reilly had to fight from P10 on the grid to reach 3rd. We're off to attend the drivers post race interviews. Its well into drivers silly season and usually by Suzuka top drivers have started to lock in some plans. Lets see what we can dig up. Firstly Rubens: Congratulations on the win. You took great advantage of your front row in qualifying how was it from your perspective? “The team gave me a stunningly quick car this weekend, both in qualifying and race trim. Sebastien just edged me out in quali and for the first stint I was able to run with him but not pass. In fact apart from David who was +4 sec after 6 laps we had pulled a gap of about 12 sec on the rest of the field by the first pit stops. There was no way to pass Seb on the track so I asked the team to switch strategy and we went Opt/Opt/Prime. Seb ran primes in the second stint and the extra pace of the options meant that when Seb rejoined after the second stint I had track position. I took risks in the outlaps on the primes and it paid off. Seb pushed me hard for the whole of his final stint on the options but the car was quite nice on the primes and I was able to defend. Sebastien. Pole and second place in the race. Valuable points in the WDC and you move to just 13 points ahead of David O'Reilly. How was your weekend? “It is nice to still be leading the WDC and the car is fast. I was surprised at Rubens pace in both qualifying and the race. But then again he has been very strong in quali all season. The team thought that Opt/Pri/Opt was the optimum strategy. We through we had the Williams #1 covered but Rubens made a very good second stint and pulled me within a stop so I returned on options behind him. We have 4 races to go and so 100 points available so we must be realistic that its still very close. We have to perform. The RB7 has been stunning in quali and race trim so we have every chance to retain the WDC. “ Returning to David: You are lying second in the WDC. Today was a great drive from P10 on the grid to a podium. Give us your thoughts. Firstly congratulations to Rubens. It was a stunning drive to hold off Sebastien in that final stint and a good strategy from the team to get him track position. Interviewer: Rubens has had an edge in qualifying this season what do you put that down to? “It’s a mystery to me. Sometimes the car has good pace and others not. Today I could only stay within .5 sec per lap in race trim. Rubens and Sebastien were in a class of their own today and by the end of lap 6 it was clear I was fighting for 3rd place.” Interviewer: You are only 13 points from Sebastien in the WDC. Are you happy that the car will let you challenge for what would be your first title? “If I'm frank no I am not. I have had to take big risks in the races as the car has rarely had the quali pace to do better than P10. Apart from my very strong tracks I have had to rely on innovative strategy such as no laps in Q3 and very agressive starts to get in a position to reach the podium” Interviewer: That sounds like you have some frustrations David. We are led to believe that you started the season with #1 driver status but have recently been demoted to equal status. Your contract is up at the end of the season. We understand that Frank Williams has offered you a drive for next season so where does that leave you with contact negotiations? It leaves me in a strange place really. I have led the team in points for 4 seasons, am currenly #2 in the WDC with a real shot at winning the title and we as a team lead the Constructors but I am asked to sign as equal status. I look at Rubens pace and wonder why his car has suddenly been consistently faster all season whereas mine seems to have stalled in development. I have had to fight the car this season to win 4 races out of 15 so far. Well we planned to call a press conference in the morning rather than announce such things here but...... Interviewer: We are informed that Eric Bouillier has made you an offer? We did indeed have substantive discussions with Eric and the team. They are in a good place with development and I think they will have a good season next year. However the commercial aspects of the negotiations did not suit both parties. In fact Ross Brawn has made me an offer to join Mercedes Benz next season and I have decided to accept. I want to drive the most competitive car available to me and win multiple races and titles. I have seen the plans for next year and believe that I can win consistently. I will do my very best to bring the Drivers and Constructors title to Williams this season as a thank you for 4 years of great racing and support. Interviewer: Well OK we were not really prepared for this bombshell but it’s out there now. I guess we will wrap this up discuss this further at a later stage. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well it’s now Monday morning and we have taken David O’Reilly for a coffee to try to learn more about the shock move to Mercedes Benz. Interviewer:So David was it an easy decision? It was far from easy. I thought about a lot of things; the prestige of winning the WDC in a car that isn’t the fastest, the fact that Rubens pace has both really lifted the teams WCC chances and at the same time made me push like crazy to beat him. I suppose part of it was being flattered to have Ross Brawn himself approach my agent. We had certainly not even thought about Mercedes Benz. Interviewer:That part of it is interesting to our readers which teams had you targeted? Initially I thought I had done enough to get an offer from a top tier team such as RedBull, Ferrari or McLaren. Ferraris silence I can understand as they always want a #2 that will offer unquestioning support to Fernando. They know that I will not drive as a #2 and if that doesn’t suit them, fair enough. Which brings me to RedBull. In the current specs theirs is the best car. Yet I have beaten both RedBull drivers in a Williams for goodness sake. If they think that they have something special in little Seb I have news for them. He is good at winning when he is in the fastest car and when he is not he struggles. Interviewer:Have you endeared yourself to the team with your outspoken views on Dr Helmut Marko? OK Good point! Well I will simply look forward to taking the RedBulls apart next season in the Mercedes. I respect Mark Webber but as for the rest of them, it’s going to be fun. Interviewer:Who else was approached ? If I’m totally honest I think that I wanted the approach from RedBull more than I wanted the drive. I look at Vettel and now I think that a drivers’ championship in the current RedBull is a bit like one in the active suspension Williams FW14B of 1992. I would rather drive a quick car but one that when you take a pole you have earned it. I suppose I think of Senna in the Lotus and those stunning poles in a car that was not ideal. So the more I thought about it, the less I wanted that drive. Interviewer:But you had a contract offer from Lotus, surely that would have fitted that criteria? The offer from Lotus Renault was a bit too early in the season. I was still curious what other offers would materialise. Also while I was at Monza I took the Lotus Renault and the Mercedes Benz and the Williams all for a qualifying session in GP mode. The Lotus Renault was no faster than my current Williams due to its 4 years of upgrades. The Mercedes was around 1 sec per lap faster. I suppose I didn’t want to go backwards or even stay still in car performance terms. Interviewer:So what did the deal for you? The first part of the decision (to leave Williams) was made for me when the team demoted me to "Equal status" and appeared to be supporting Rubens. The second part (to join M/Benz), I just figured that I can win in the Mercedes but that there will still be a challenge. Also I can bring the team its first WDC. They showed faith in my ability. Last but not least I will either get to replace Michael Schumacher or beat him. Both those possibilities are very attractive. Interviewer:So which of the current driver line up will you replace? Best you ask Ross Brawn that one! The season moves to Race 16 Korea Wet quali and dry race. Our driver is P15 in quali but manages to mug the AI in sector 1 and take P6. Race 17 India. Status: Enter the race narrowly behind Vettel in WDC. Williams lead WCC. Track Data: Preferred (dry) strategy O/O/P. AI Pace: medium. AI Strategy: 2 stop. Tyre wear medium. Fuel use med-high. Practice: Managing about P6 in all sessions. Team mate Rubens is fast again in all sessions. He leads “Team mate Challlenge” qualifying statistic 13-3. Q1 Wet –(Inters) P12 on inter setup. Appr +1.0 sec. Q2 Wet –(Inters)P9 same Q3 Wet –(Inters)-Drying. All AI go out on options from the off. I use inters and switch to my Full Wet setup. It’s 2.5 sec faster. I take provisional pole. But with 5 mins left, a drying line appears and tyre temps are going up. AI now rocking on options and have put me into P4. At 3 mins 30 sec I Pit for options and 1 flying lap. Cross line with 30 sec left and put in clean lap. Faster by 4 sec than the inters. Pole position for only the second time (Monaco is the other). Race Narrative: Dry Weather. Vettel pushes very hard on the opening laps and at lap 3 pushes a bad outside position in twisty parts of sector 2. I am less than welcoming. He spins off and rejoins in P14. Awesome! Perez attacks for all of stint 1. Alonso in P3. We all pit lap 13 + or – 1 lap. Perez is on same strategy as me O/O/P, Alonso fits primes so he is the danger. I can cover Perez but Alonso will be freed when I pit. We need a gap to Alonso. I push hard in stint 2. Perez runs with me but we make 10 sec on Alonso. Vettel is setting fastest laps but has only made it back to P10. Second round of stops. Lap 25, Perez stops before me, my tyres are still good and he is going for primes and will have 2 slow laps so I turn up the engine and push for 2 laps. I pit and rejoin well ahead of Perez initially but behind Alonso. Massa and another car still on primes and yet to pit are on the pit straight. I get greedy on my cold primes and try to hold them off into turn 1. There is contact and I ½ spin they both pass. Now so does Perez! I am P4. 3 will stop so I am now net P2 on the track. Now or never for the win , can I catch Perez. Mix 2 for 1 lap to get the primes warm then mix 3. Gap is 3 sec then 2.5 then 1.8 3 laps later I have him under DRS. During this intense battle the prime runners have pitted. Its lap 31 of 45 I am now P1. Alonso attacks on options but Perez hold him off. We maintain position to the chequered flag. Pole and Race win double for only the second time and only the 6th win of the season but now leading the WDC by 5 points with only Abu Dhabi and Brazil to go. Race 18 Abu Dhabi Track Data: Preferred (dry) strategy O/O/P. AI Pace: medium. AI Strategy: 2 stop. Tyre wear medium. Fuel use med-high.Dry conditions. Quali P10 Race P9 Race Narrative:Leading the race after an aggressive opening sector. Vettel has a problem and rejoins P24. Makes his way to P17. This is looking good. We push the options stint too hard and spin at turn 3. Lost front wing. Pit and rejoin P13. Manage to finish P9. Vettel is P10 and out of the points. Lucky save. Now lead WDC by 7 points only. It is going down to the wire. If Vettel wins and I am worse than P2 he is World Champion.