F1 has to be one of the most thrilling sports in the world. The fact that it’s been running for decades, that race weekends get over 250,000 spectators in pretty much every venue that they travel to around the world, and the obscene amounts of money involved underlines this.
In terms of betting, it’s not one of the first sports you think of but it still has a strong following and with it a good range of markets to bet on. The most popular is that of the outright winner, coupled with points and podium betting. They are all essentially related to the race result, which is what we are going to concentrate on for this article.
The first of the markets is the outright winner of the race. This is where you need to choose the driver that is going to finish in 1st place. Next up we have the points market. This can work in a number of different ways depending on which bookmaker you use and the market type that they offer. Most will simply be to bet on a driver to finish anywhere in the points, but some allow you to state an over/under line for each driver in terms of how many points they are going to score for that race.
The final market that we have included in this is a podium finish. It’s pretty self-explanatory and all you need to do is select the driver that will finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the race. The position is irrelevant as the bet pays the same for each position.
Other F1 betting markets
You’re going to be able to get a decent range of these types of betting markets with a lot of the major bookies. But there are some variations of them that we want you to be aware of.
- Any race win and/or podium – A market that is popular pre-season is betting on whether a driver will have a win or a podium at any point in the season. This is generally targeted at the smaller teams, given that this is more or less guaranteed for the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
- Driver v Driver match bet – This market is where the punter is able to choose between two drivers and then whichever driver finishes higher in the race. Some bookies will have these as inter-team head to heads, but others will create random match ups that include drivers from a range of teams.
- Pole position – This market is taken from the qualifying sessions and allows you to bet on the driver that will start the race in pole position. The pole position is given to the driver that is fastest over the qualifying period which is run the day before the race on the Saturday.
- Fastest lap – For this we are looking for the driver that will perform the fastest lap of the race at any point. Please note that this is not always going to be the driver that eventually wins the race as different cars run different strategies at certain parts of the race.
One of things that you need to note on these types of markets is that most bookies will settle these bets upon completion of the awards being handed out on the podium.
Any action that is taken after this that will change the decision of the race retrospectively will not count towards the settlement of this market.
This is actually pretty rare so you don’t need to worry too much about it, but it’s worth bearing in mind in case results do change.
It’s just good to know at exactly what point your bet is truly won and the winnings are definitely going to be in your account.
F1 betting strategy
As with all sports, there is quite a lot of strategy that can be applied to these types of markets. Here are a few areas that you can attack with your research to find the best bets possible.
Stats based research
The first point that we have to make is that F1 is massive on its stats and data. The amount of work that the teams put in to shaving off a few thousandths of a second is huge, and as a result there are unbelievably small margins in who will do well at what race.
You should be looking to start your research with the same level of depth and back up all you findings with stats. There are plenty of stats based F1 websites that you can access for free that will give you incredible amounts of information for each driver and each track.
One of the best things about this data is that you are able to find bets where you’d possibly never thought of looking before. Once you really start digging deep you will find trends that might occur or at least an idea of what type of driver will do well at certain circuits.
The track plays a huge role in determining how a race might pan out. There are some tracks that are set up for overtaking and there are some that aren’t; for the ones that aren’t you are relying heavily on either mechanical failure from teams or their qualifying stint to see where they end up on the grid.
The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi may be one of the most spectacular tracks in F1 aesthetically, but it’s one of the worst when it comes to overtaking and general excitement. If you were betting on a race here, then you would be looking at where drivers started the race from qualifying and not deviating too much away from this.
You compare that to a track like Spa in Belgium or even Suzuka in Japan, which are both fast, free flowing race tracks that encourage overtaking, and this makes races a lot more exciting. From a betting point of view it also allows drivers from further down the grid to make challenges up the leader board.
The thing is, we know how most circuits are going to run prior to the off. You can target each track with a strategy in mind about how you want to approach it, whether that be getting adventurous with a driver making a move up or sticking with someone who’s qualified well already.
The F1 calendar tends to follow the sun as much as it can as it travels around the world. They target the summer times in whatever continent they might be in, all in the hope of getting good (dry) weather for the race.
The fact is, as racing fans, we want to see every race ran in wet conditions as this can create mayhem with the drivers and the cars, maximising entertainment value. The hardest to call is when the weather is changeable, so the race might start dry, rain mid-way through, then dry out again. It means cars are going to have to keep changing their tyres.
When this occurs, the races become very unpredictable. From a betting point of view we really need to be betting in play to take advantage of it. Try to check weather forecasts to see when rain or bad weather might arise and then see which teams are able to act on this. If you use the F1 website it will give you live readings of what tyres each driver is on. The fastest to react are going to benefit the most and this isn’t necessarily the cars that are out in front.
Lap times and reasons for those times
Qualifying can be a good measure on how each car is running, but it can also be a bit of a red herring as some cars may be running heavy fuel or different tyres than they will use in the race.
You should be able to see pretty early on who has good race speed. Again, these aren’t always the drivers that are out in front, but often people in the middle of the pack who have fast cars but struggle to get past people in front.
After 10 laps or so you should be able to see who has good race speed. Whilst it might be tough for them to get past, eventually, the other drivers will pit and this is when these quicker cars are able to get ahead and make up time on those in front.
As things like tyres start to deteriorate, you can check to see which driver is running each tyre type and then asses how they might be in say 10/15 laps time compared to those in front.
Team dynamics is an interesting one to consider as well. A lot of teams, even though they might not state it publicly, will have a number 1 driver. They will likely get paid more than their teammate and they will get first pick over any new equipment and new tech to be used on the car.
They may also get the majority of decisions for things like team orders as well. This is where the team are able to state what they want a certain driver to do. For example, if you have two drivers fighting for 1st and 2nd and both are on the same team, if the driver in 2nd is above his teammate in the drivers championship, the team may ask the driver in 1st to pull over and let his teammate past so that they are able to extend their lead at the top.
When betting on winners, points, and even podiums, it’s important to note whether this might come into play with any of the teams.