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Formula 1 Betting

Betting on F1 is very much the hub of bookmakers motor sport betting. With the Championship now extended to 20 races, and race times scheduled to cater for the mass European market. Formula 1 betting has exploded over recent years from what was a pretty basic offering about the Race Winner and Podium Finish markets several years ago, to the plethora of opportunities available to today’s punter looking to bet on Formula One. You can now speculate on whether the Safety Car will be called out or who will be the first driver to crash out!

The F1 Season runs from mid-March until late November, with races taking place broadly every other weekend, and a month long break in the summer to give the race teams a much deserved break. Bookmakers will usually price up their betting markets on the following race winner immediately after the previous race finishes, and will then deliver their wider markets by the Monday ahead of the following weekend’s race.

So what can you bet on?

The Race Winner market is the bookmaker’s bread and butter, but for the punter this can occasionally provide an opportunity. The first thing to consider is when to place your bet, as sometimes a slight edge can be achieved in this respect. In 2011 for instance, Sebastian Vettel proved himself to be absolutely unbeatable in Saturday’s qualifying sessions, so if you fancied the Red Bull man to win on Sunday, it often made sense to back him before the start of qualifying as once he achieved Pole Position, the price offered about race victory was usually much shorter. Considering the chances your chosen driver may have in qualifying is therefore pretty important when betting on F1.

Another potential edge can sometimes be found in betting each-way, with bookmakers usually offering each-way terms of 1/5 the odds for a top three finish. You should always work out what the place betting odds represent when deciding whether to bet each way. For instance, if your driver is 7/1 in the Race Winner market, then the place part returns at 1/5 the odds, thus 7/5 for a top three finish. With bookmakers also offering odds on a podium finish, you can directly check the competitiveness of the e/w part by comparing to the podium market. If the driver you fancy was available at 6/4 or 13/8 for a podium finish, you would be better to have a win only bet, and then head to the podium market for that bet separately if you wished to place it. However, if the best odds on offer for a podium finish were 10/11, you would be getting a healthy slice of value on the e/w part of the race winner price, and it would make sense to take the bet as an e/w bet.

With often pretty predictable differences between the relative pace of the various teams in the field, bookmakers have reacted to the obviously small chances of a Lotus or Virgin Racing car winning the race by offering odds on drivers to finish on the Podium (Top 3), in the Top 6 and in the Points (Top 10). This has allowed punters an angle to back a driver they believe may over perform, but whom may still be unable to challenge for a race victory. In 2011 for instance it was unlikely that Kumai Kobayashi would ever threaten to win in his Sauber, but he was a reliable points scorer for most of the first half of the season, prompting sharp eyed punters to back the Japanese driver to finish in the points pretty successful over the first seven races.

When betting on Formula One, always try to catch qualifying on Saturday. Drivers who save an extra set of tyres for the race have been successful at moving up the field in 2011, while the grid holds a “dirty side” and a “clean side” which can be a big benefit to drivers off the start line on Sunday. Those lining up on the clean side (the racing line) will usually have qualified in 1st, 3rd, 5th etc. and will get marginally better grip in the run to the first corner.

Other markets you can bet on in Formula One include the Winning Margin, Total Finishers, First Retirement, First Lap Leader, Safety Car, Fastest Lap, Forecast betting (often big prices and the best chance to go for the jackpot!) and Pole Position. Head to Head betting between drivers also allows you to take a view against a driver as well, by opposing him in the bet.

You can also bet In-Play on markets such as the Race Winner, the Fastest Lap, the Winning Margin and the Safety Car. Bookmakers such as Skybet and Bet365 are among the leaders in this area, with the latter also offering odds on a Podium Finish for much of the race.

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