Monthly Archives: May 2014

F1 2014: Monaco GP Preview

Generally, I can’t stand Monaco. I regard it as an outdated race on an unsuitable ‘track’ continued merely for the benefit of the rich and famous. Exciting races there are few and far between, and the fact that since 2004 only one winner has come from anything other than pole shows that it is hardly a race of surprises. Basically if it doesn’t rain, just watch the start to see if the pole sitter makes a hash of it…

With that in mind, it is difficult to make much in the way of predictions. Mercedes should dominate, but the track won’t let their massive power advantage show to the levels it used to. But before people get too excited, the 2013 race showed that they (and Rosberg) know how to set up a car for the streets of the Principality. Although there is a better chance for another winner, the quality of the Mercedes with both drivers having a Monaco win under their belt makes it difficult to look elsewhere – which explains the odds of 1.61 for Hamilton, 3.00 for Rosberg and 12.00 Bar. Actually, that 3.00 for Rosberg is looking a bit generous. The nicey-nicey battles we have seen so far are going to start getting more edgy, and in each race Rosberg will see the need for a win increasing. Those odds indicate that it is twice as likely that Lewis will win (62% to 33% roughly); but that does show the chances the others have!

The battle behind the Mercedes looks most interesting, and Alonso set down a marker on the Thursday P2 session. Yet this doesn’t seem reflected in the ‘Without Mercedes’ market, where he is at 5.50 with Ladbrokes, behind Vettel (2.62) and Ricciardo (2.75). That seems unfair on an excellent driver with 2 Monaco wins under his belt, and therefore the best value.

The other two traditional bets are also somewhat undermined by the nature of the track. A safety car to be deployed is currently running at 1.12 (around an 88% chance), with no SC at 5.50. With only 2 races of the last 10 not requiring a SC, the odds aren’t even generous at 1.12, but the logical bet would be that there will be a safety car. And that doesn’t even take the weather into account!

The average retirement rate in Monaco is 28%, which represents 6.2 cars – or 15.8 finishers if you prefer. Unsurprisingly, the market runs at <16 2.10, 16-17 3.25 and >17 3.00. The weather has to be taken into consideration though, and a wet or greasy track would change this. This therefore requires a call to be made on race day – a dry race track and the suggestion would be the 16-17 option, a wet track and <16 is the choice.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Alonso to win in market without Hamilton or Rosberg (5.50 Ladbrokes)
  • Other predicitons
    • Safety car to be deployed (1.12 Bet365)
    • Classified finishers:
      • If wet: Under 16 (2.10 Bet365)
      • If dry: 16-17 (3.25 Bet365)

2014 Season Totals (based on level stakes of 1 unit)

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 2 lose for +0.88
  • Safety car: 1 win, 3 lose for -0.78
  • Finishers: 2 win, 2 lose for +0.05

F1 2014: Spain GP Preview

The Spanish GP doesn’t seem to provoke much in the way of excitement. Perhaps that is because it doesn’t seem to provide much in the way of surprises, perhaps it is the restart of the season, or perhaps it is that this season seems done and dusted in many ways.

The gap doesn’t make it easy to translate the previous form into expectations for the race. Other, that is, than a Mercedes 1-2. At 1.44 there is no value there. For this race I will return to the ‘Both Team Cars To Have A Points Finish’, and select Force India at 2.25. With the good running from the team, this appears to be a solid bet. Hulkenberg has achieved a points finish every time, and Perez has for three out of the four races – the exception being a technical problem that prevented him from starting. The odds represent a 44% chance, and it appears to me that a performance that has been achieved in the last two races should be rated higher than this.

Looking at the ‘regular’ bets, the number of drivers to be classified is currently priced at 3.50 for 18-19, with 2.25 for under 18 and 2.75 for over 19. This race has been something of a car breaker, with an average retirement rate of 28%. Quite a few of those have been accidents, but the mechanical retirement rate is heavy. That rate would mean 16 finishers, which is a fair bit lower than the range predicted and represents some value. Added to this are the Renault engine problems in free practice today. All things considered, taking the under 18 options seems the best bet. Given that Ladbrokes are offering 2.10 for 17 or fewer, there is an opportunity.

The safety car comes in at 2.20 to be deployed, and 1.61 for no deployment. Despite all of the retirements, the safety car has only been deployed in two races since 2004. This would indicate that there is plenty of room at the track to retrieve cars without risk to the track workers, meaning that a safety car is unlikely – although nobody can predict what happens at the start! That said, 1.61 represents about a 62% chance of no safety car – I would say the evidence indicates that this should be more 80% (1.25) in general terms. This would represent value in the bet, as long as the potential for startline shenanigans doesn’t increase the risk too much.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Both Force Indias to finish in the points (2.25 with Ladbrokes)
  • Other predictions
    • Safety car to¬†not be deployed (1.61 with Bet365)
    • Under 18 finishers (2.25 with Bet365)

2014 Season Totals (based on level stakes of 1 unit)

  • Selected bets: 1 win, 2 lose for -0.37
  • Safety Car: 1 win, 2 lose for -1.39
  • Finishers: 2 win, 1 lose for +1.05