“Your Ambition Outweighs Your Talent” Ok hands up – who has got overexcited at the start of a race, braked too late for the first corner and punted someone off? Oh good, it’s not just me then. We’ve all done it. Not that I meant to, and I am very sorry to those that I hit… I just got a bit… ambitious.
As Casey Stoner said to Valentino Rossi after The Doctor lost control of his Ducati while attempting an overtake on the Queensland rider in the Jerez Moto GP, “your ambition outweighs your talent”. Whilst this may not be strictly true in the case of a nine-time World Champion, it is certainly true of a great number of online racers.
After a brief affair with Gran Turismo 5, I am now spending the majority of my gaming hours back with the brilliant BAFTA-winning F1 2010. I can forgive such a good game for having a few minor flaws, but racing online can be a frustrating experience as too often a race can be ruined at the first corner by racers getting too hot-headed and steaming into turn one too fast. If I can avoid first corner collisions I am almost guaranteed a podium, but should I suffer damage, my race is effectively run. I imagine it’s the same for you too.
And then there are the quitters. F1 2010’s online lobby isn’t the greatest, and it’s often pot luck as to how long you’ll have to wait before a race begins. After a long wait tension on the grid is even higher, pressure to make a good start is heightened, and the frustration of a first corner collision can be greatly enhanced – leading to many people quitting races there and then. This can be doubly-frustrating for anyone wanting a 12-car race as there are often only a few left by the end, and no deterrents are in place to stop people exiting early. I personally find it preferable to stick with a race whatever happens and enjoy the challenge of a fightback, but would love to see some kind of penalty imposed on early quitters in the forthcoming F1 2011 to ensure a little more consistency in races. Just like middle-lane hoggers and people that don’t indicate before changing lanes on a motorway, this is bad driving behaviour that is rife because it is so rarely punished.
If you share my frustrations there are a couple of things you can do. To start with, I now prefer to do longer races, as driving standards tend to be better and there is less pressure on the outcome of turn one. In a 50-lap race there is an awareness from those taking part that the race is a marathon rather than a sprint, and any first corner contact will just feel like an unwelcome time penalty come the end of the race an hour or so later – so people take it easier. I also tend to adjust my first corner strategy depending on my grid position. If I’m at the front I’ll really go for it, just to save myself the risk of being punted from behind. If I’m at the back I’ll hang around and cost myself a few seconds while watching the inevitable accident unfold, before picking my way around the cars and debris strewn across the circuit. If I am stuck in the middle, I just pray and hope for the best.
But nevertheless I would like to appeal to all you virtual racers out there to take it easy into turn one next time you’re online – nobody wants to spin and the race can’t be won on the first lap. Unless it’s a one-lap race, obviously. And don’t quit straight away next time you get hit – it happens, so practice avoiding it – and if it does happen, deal with it more maturely. Think of poor Casey Stoner, he dealt with it really matur… oh.