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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Brazil Pre-Race Analysis

Heavy rain on championship deciding race
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Hamilton
2nd
Button
3rd
Webber
4th
Vettel
5th
Massa
6th
Hulkenberg
7th
Alonso
8th
Raikkonen
9th
Rosberg
10th
di Resta
11th
Senna
12th
Perez
13th
Schumacher
14th
Kobayashi
15th
Recciardo
16th
Maldonado*
17th
Vergne
18th
Grosjean
*Maldonado – 10 place penalty.
Rain is currently predicted (http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/3448439) though the weather system of Interlagos is notoriously unpredictable. Assuming it is a wet race then making firm predictions is extremely difficult; anyone could spin off, anyone could be caught on the wrong tire in changing conditions or anyone could see their competitors gain a free pitstop due to the safety car. However, there are a few key factors that could help guess correctly.

In previous years Interlagos has been a Red Bull hunting ground. Webber won in 2009 and 2011 whilst coming 2nd in 2010. Vettel won in 2010, came 2nd in 2011 and 4th in 2009 (having qualified 16th). Whilst they were both beaten by the McLarens it is possible that Red Bull went for a wet weather setup whilst McLaren were more balanced on the setup. This would make sense since a wet race is probably the only chance Vettel has of losing the championship so Red Bull would compensate with a wet weather setup. Meanwhile, earlier in the season the McLaren was extremely poor in wet conditions. Since there has not been a wet race since Germany it is possible this may not be true due to developments of the car. Whilst there are no certainties, the Red Bulls look substantially stronger for victory than the McLarens providing there is substantial rain. Vettel's odds of 8/1 (9.00) from Betfair are excellent value for money. Given the uncertainty of a wet race, a small back up bet on Webber at odds of 11/1 (12.00) from Bet 365 is recommended.

The big uncertainty is Alonso. The Ferrari is good in wet conditions but not truly dominant. His victory in Malaysia involved much skill but also a level of luck. Having never won at Interlagos before and being quite far down the field it is difficult to imagine him beating the Red Bulls. Whilst not impossible, higher odds than those Vettel has would be needed to make Alonso good value for money yet he has near comparable odds of 9/1 (10.00) from SkyBet. Keep a close eye on him for live betting but currently he is not good value for money.

Massa could have an impressive race. The Ferrari does well in the wet, Massa has won here twice previously, he is racing almost as well as Alonso currently and had qualified higher. A win would be unlikely, having not won in other two years and probably having to move aside for Alonso. A podium might be possible and odds of 5/1 (6.00) from Paddy Power is good value for money, even given the possibility having having to hand it to Alonso.

As for the championship, Alonso has odds of 4.1 (5.00) to win from Bet 365 whilst having odds of 5/4 (2.25) for a podium from Bet 365. Since Alonso has to take a podium to win the championship reguardless of what happens to Vettel, betting on a podium is probably wiser if you think there is a realistic change of Alonso being crowned world drivers champion.

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Odds above accurate at Sunday 25th, 12.59 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © Dell's

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Brazil Pre-Qualifying Analysis

Storm clouds loom over Interlagos
FP3 Results
1st
Button
2nd
Vettel
3rd
Webber
4th
Hamilton
5th
Grosjean
6th
di Resta
7th
Hulkenberg
8th
Alonso
9th
Maldonado
10th
Massa
11th
Senna
12th
Rosberg
13th
Perez
14th
Kobayashi
15th
Schumacher
16th
Ricciardo
17th
Vergne
18th
Petrov
The rain is on the horizon but with no one certain if it arrive in time for qualifying this could be the most unpredictable battle for pole this season. The usual safe bets are today far from safe but this opens opportunities for those willing to make risky bets.

Hamilton and Vettel are joint favourites to win qualifying, with odds of 47/25 (2.88) from Blue Square and 47/25 (2.88) from SkyBet respectively. Neither of these odds are exceptional value for money. Button was two tenths quicker than Hamilton yet only has odds of 33/10 (4.30) from Bet 365whilst Webber was only a tenth slower than Vettel yet has odds of 15.0 from Bet 365. The usual two contenders for pole, Vettel and Hamilton have lowers odds yet do not look particularly stronger than the competitors. With four drivers being so close there is very little to choose between them and none can be recommended.

The key issue is the rain, with the possibility of rain towards the end of qualifying. If so this will likely change everything. However, the last race with rain was Germany and the cars have developed massively since them. However, back then the McLarens were very weak in the rain whilst Alonso was masterful. On this basis, unless you wait until qualifying is taking place before betting, the McLaren is best avoided. Meanwhile, Alonso's odds of 21/1 (22.00) from Betfair are excellent value for money. This bet would be purely dependent upon the rain and the hope that the comparitive speed in the rain will not have changed since Silverstone. Since both of these possibilities are reasonable possibilities a small bet on Alonso is worthwhile.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 24th, 15.19GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © Leandro's World Tour

Friday, 23 November 2012

Esteban Gutierrez to join Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez has been confirmed to race with Sauber for 2013 reports ESPN . Also, Pic has now moved to Caterham in a suprise move reports Autosport.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

USA Pre-Race Analysis

Championship close to being resolved
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Vettel
2nd
Hamilton
3rd
Webber
4th
Raikkonen
5th
Schumacher
6th
Hulkenberg
7th
Alonso
8th
Grosjean*
9th
Maldonado
10th
Senna
11th
Massa*
12th
Button
13th
di Resta
14th
Vergne
15th
Perez
16th
Kobayashi
17th
Rosberg
18th
Ricciardo
*Massa– 5 place penalty.
*Grosjean – 5 place penalty.
Vettel's typical win is a controlled race from pole and this looks easier than normal, largely due to the first corner. The left side of the track vastly lacks grip and some estimate that it will be a whole second slower at the race start. If so, Vettel has little to fear from Hamilton or Raikkonen. Behind Vettel on the right side of the grid is Webber who is notorious for his slow starts and Schumacher who is too far back to challenge. Also, there are great fears about a first corner crash but Vettel will be the one driver likely to escape this. By contrast, slow starts by Hamilton, Webber and Raikkonen will make them prime targets if a crash develops behind them. Vettel's odds of 11/20 (1.55) from Betfair are good value for money. With so much uncertainty over the race betting any on other driver for race winner is a true gamble. However, of all the front runners Raikkonen has the highest odds at 31/1 (32.00) from Betfair, the Lotus usually does better during the race and likes warm temperatures so is best for a small back up bet.

Due to the issues over the race start and first corner there is much more uncertainty compared to a normal race. On this basis betting heavily is not advised. However, assuming they make it through the first corner then a few drivers look reasonably placed. For the above reasons Raikkonen will probably have a good race and a podium looks reasonable at 5/4 (2.25) from Paddy Power. Schumacher might also do well, starting on the clean side of the track might leave him 3rd or even 2nd going into the first corner. The high speed of his Mercedes should help him avoid being overtaken in the DRS zone on the long straight. Due to the Mercedes struggling with tire degredation he might have to stop an extra time, ruling out a podium position. Top 6 at 69/50 (2.38) from Blue Square is good value for money. Equally, with the Lotus running well and being on the clean side of the track, Grosjean at 2/1 (3.00) from SkyBet is good for a top 6 bet [edit: Massa has changed his gearbox giving him a five place penalty. This moves Grosjean onto the dirty side of the track so he is less likely to do well].

One riskier strategy is to count on a first corner incident. Assuming the accident comes in the midfeild then look to drivers who have qualified about 15th or lower. Their current odds are far higher than what they are worth if all drivers from 15th and back are in 10th position and back after the first corner. Substantial money could be made from top ten and top six finishes with some lucky early betting.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 18th, 14.19GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © John Rees

Race winner is probably the most popular bet but not necessarily the best. Although the odds are usually higher than other bets race, betting on the winner is much more specific, only paying off if the car ends in one specific position unlike bets on podium, top six or top ten. This specificity means that all the relevant factors have far more influence; being confident that a driver will finish in 4th position rather than 5th does not matter when betting on top six but being confident a car will finish 1st rather than 2nd is precisely what betting on race winner is all about. Betting on race winner is much more of a classic gamble than the safer lower odds betting like top 6 or top 10. Some people prefer the gamble, some people prefer safer lower pay off betting but mixing the two is the best.

Generally, most race victories come from 3rd position or higher. Try and get a bet upon each of the top three qualifiers for that race. Aim to break even if one or maybe two of the top 3 drivers wins and then place a higher bet upon which of the top three you think will win or has the best odds. For example, at Silverstone 2012 Alonso was on poll with 2/1 (3.00) for victory, Webber second at 5/1 (6.00) and Schumacher third at 11/1 (12.0). If you put £10 on each then an Alonso win sees you break even, Webber makes you £40 and Schumacher pays off a handsome £120. Details of such bets will be found on the main blog after qualifying. Some courses vary from the norm, with some courses only seeing victories from 1st or 2nd on the grid. Details for specific courses can be found on the stats page. Also, some drivers only win from high qualifying positions whereas other drivers sometimes win from much further down the field. Details from the last decade can be found on the pre-weekend blog post. Finally, some drivers prefer certain tracks and this will be noted in the pre-weekend blog post.

Prior to the qualifying and the practice sessions drivers will have higher odds than after the grid order is known. Taking advantage of this uncertainty is advised in limited quantities. Consider how a driver has performed here before and consider his current form. Also, factor in which courses suit which cars. All this is discussed on the pre-weekend blog post. Placing a small amount of money on a few drivers who the statistics favour or who have unreasonably low odds is wise. If these drivers then qualify badly little money is lost but if one ends up on poll you have money on him at far higher odds than are available after qualifying.

After such an uncertain season Red Bull appear to have finally gained the mechanical advantage they enjoyed in 2010 and 2011. Vettel's current form looks reminiscent of 2011 and arguably is currently stronger. He has never won for races in a row like he did between Singapore and Korea whilst his podium finish from last in Abu Dhabi was extremely impressive. However, this means that Vettel usually has very low odds for victory and so large amounts have to be bet to see a substantial profit.

Webber is unlikely to take any more victories this season. Although looking as strong as Vettel in qualifying, he still has the weaker starts and even were he beating Vettel there is a high chance he would have to move aside and give Vettel the victory. Podium positions or even pole position is wiser for Webber.

Although the McLarens have had two periods when they appeared strongest during the season but currently are generally behind the McLarens. Hamilton was dominant in Abu Dhabi so race victories are not impossible but with such reliability issues generally the McLaren is not worth betting on heavily. Button is generally only worth betting on in wet weather as Hamilton usually is quicker in both qualifying and the race during dry weather conditions.

Alonso has not had a truly competitive car arguably all season. His victories this year have usually come from qualifying high due to the rain or because some competitors crashed out when he qualifies relatively low in the dry. Only bet on Alonso for races where rain is likely though he is certainly one to watch for live betting. He usually has better race pace than his qualifying pace so it is often best to wait until after qualifying to get higher odds.

Although there were other race winners earlier in the season, such outsider victories are very unlikely. The Mercedes has completely lost its pace, Maldonado can sometimes put in an impressive qualifying performance but the Williams can rarely keep up during the race. The Sauber has challenged for victory on some occasions but Perez seems to have currently completely lost his controlled style with numerous racing incidents lately. Even Raikkonen, after his victory is Abu Dhabi, is unlikely to win again. Although he had an extremely strong middle season, except for Abu Dhabi he had never finished higher than 5th in the last six races. Only on warmer circuits than are twisty in the manner similar to street circuits will the Lotus likely be competitive.

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