Category Archives: Formula 1

F1 2014: Italy GP Preview

Despite the Monza circuit being one steeped in history and tradition, and the focal point of Ferrari worship since Grand Prix started, all eyes this weekend are likely to be on the Mercedes and the ongoing relationship between Rosberg and Hamilton. No matter what has been said, Nico clearly laid down a marker that he will not be bullied by the aggressive driving that Hamilton traditionally enjoys and ensured that Hamilton can no longer ‘slam the door’ assuming the other person will give way. For that matter, Nico needs to be aware the his actions have reflected badly on him and the team, and that he has probably used up his one ‘get out of jail’ card. Frankly I am just looking forward to the ‘double points’ race (the most asinine idea in sports history mind you) to see what happens – it might be time to have a punt on Ricciardo on the exchanges!

The only other conclusion from Belgium was the any attempt to apply logic to the concept of finishers and safety cars this season is a waste of time. There are just too many random elements, not just in terms of driver collisions, parts damage and track debris but also the stewards who determine just what is and what is not too hazardous. The predictions will continue, but only for the remainder of this season.

So on that note, what about Monza. Well, despite the incredibly fast nature of the track, it would appear that a safety car is not a common factor. Only 3 in the last 10 years (although the data isn’t completely reliable) would indicate a ‘No’. That said, consideration has to be made of the chances of Lewis and Nico smashing into each other approaching the first chicane! That would appear to be the thinking behind Bet365’s odds of 2.00 for no safety car period (compared to 1.72 for the SC being deployed). With the weather predicted as ideal, it would seem that backing no SC is the logical, and value, selection.

At the time of writing only Bet365 are offering odds on the number of finishers, at 2.00 for less than 17, 2.75 for 17/18 and 4.00 for over 18. The number of retirements at Monza isn’t as high as expected, running at an average of 15% over the last ten years – that would mean 3.38 retirements, rounded down to 3 meaning 19 finishers. With only two retirements in each of the last two years, not to mention the value in the odds, this is the selection we have to make. So, going on track record (no pun intended), we can be sure that we will see a race more like that of 2011 with 9 retirements!

With those aspects taken care of, what other options should be considered. As already inidicated, Monza is a very fast track – effectively a series of long straights that are interrupted with a few chicanes. 2014 has shown us that in these circumstances (and without any apparent weather conditions to allow for) it is foolish to look beyond the Mercedes engine. Realistically they should dominate the top positions, with the Mercedes team 1-2, Williams 3-4 and McLaren 5-6. The drivers here are generally odds-on, and the only value is in Button (3.00) and Magnusson (3.50) for a top 6 finish. With Magnusson’s highest finish 7th (other than the opening 2nd place) the odds are just too short.

The betting without Hamilton/Rosberg market offers some interesting options. Ricciardo is favourite here at 3.25, but I can’t see how that works out with the engine the Red Bull has to run. Following my assessment of a strong Mercedes engine track, the best option would appear to be the two Williams drivers with Bottas at 3.25 and Massa at 7.00. Bottas has a record of 3/2/2/8/3 over the last five races, and that goes a long way to explain his odds. Massa, on the other hand, has a comparable record of 4/R/R/5/13. I have to admit that the odds on offer for Massa are tempting, but those two Rs stand out and either as a matter of talent or luck, he is less reliable this season.

So the choice appears to be Bottas to win w/o LH/NR at 3.25, or Button to secure a top 6 at 3.00. Bottas for the win (personal bias may be here!), although I would fancy a small punt on Massa in the same market!

  • Selected Bet
    • Bottas to win without Hamilton/Rosberg (3.25 Bet365)
  • Other predicitons
    • Safety car to NOT be deployed (2.00 Bet365
    • Classified finishers: Over 18 (4.00 Bet365)

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 8 lose for -5.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 6 lose for -4.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 6 lose for -2.95

F1 2014: Belgium GP Preview

This isn’t turning out to be a good season prediction wise. It would appear that the random elements are just too much to cope with when it comes to safety cars and classified finishers (although my minor loss was nothing compared to the loss that the safety car appeared to cause Rosberg in Hungary). That said, the more considered race bets aren’t really working either.

At least in Belgium we should have a good race. Without doubt this is my favourite track of the season, and it will be interesting to see how the cars handle it in their new configurations. And that is just in the dry – no matter what today’s forecast may say, you never know with Spa.

Looking at the two standard markets, without even checking the odds I will plump for a safety car being deployed. The fast track will almost certainly result in someone having an off, and as probably at a speed that will shower the track in carbon fibre. As such this will call out the car for half a dozen laps to sweep up! It would appear the bookies agree, with 1.50 the best out there for a safety car period (vs 2.62 for no such deployment).

The number of finishers is based around 17.5 again, with under the preferred option at 1.57. If Hungary can have fewer finishers then it has to be favoured, especially as there is a great opportunity to lose half a dozen at the first La Source corner.

There are a number of potential ‘race’ markets. The ‘not to be classified’ market looks interesting, with Vergne at 2.75 despite having retired five times this season, but Vettel at 4.50 has to be tempting with the troubles that have plagued him both this season, and in FP1 which resulted in him missing FP2. The market without Hamilton or Rosberg also looks interesting, with the odds favouring Bottas by some margin. However, Ricciardo is priced at 4.33 which seems generous for the Hungarian GP winner, but his FP performance wasn’t enough to make him a shoe-in for that position. Of course, the Hamilton/Rosberg dual forecast would appear to be the safest bet, but at 1.50 it hardly offers any value. At this stage I need a better return, and so I think the Vettel bet offers the best margin – pretty much nails him on for a podium then…

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Vettel not to be classified (4.50 Ladbrokes)
  • Other predicitons
    • Safety car to be deployed (1.50 Ladbrokes)
    • Classified finishers: Under 17.5 (1.57 Ladbrokes)

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 7 lose for -4.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 5 lose for -3.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 5 lose for -1.95

F1 2014: Hungary GP Preview

Well after the German GP predictions were blown apart thanks to Massa’s driving in the first corner of the race, I really need some help in this race. However, the fact that it is Hungary, one of the most tedious tracks in the F1 calendar, won’t help.

It is easier these days to start with the ‘standard’ bets. In terms of a safety car the last 10 years are split 8 No/2 Yes, and one of the deployments was in the rain which might be the case this weekend. At the moment the odds are 1.83 for either choice (representing a 109.1% book – that is where they make their money!). In this case, I am going to go for the ‘wait until the race day’ approach – if it is wet back Yes, and if it is dry back No.

The number of finishers market is <17 2.25, 17-18 2.75 and >18 3.25, I have been bitten by the three way split here too often, and so I am looking at the simpler market at 1.83 either side of 17.5 finishers. Going on average data the number of finishers should be 18, but that includes a disparity in the rain in 2006. Again, if wet go for >17.5, if dry go for <17.5.

As for the specific bet for the race, this is tricky. Hamilton is only at 1.53, mainly because of the car superiority and the fact that Hungary seems to something of a favourite track for this driver (4 wins out of the last 10). Ricciardo and Vettel share the odds of 3.50 for the non-Mercedes market, with Bottas at 4.50. Again, this seems fair as the circuit is not one that will really help the powerful Williams.

A bet on Maldonado not to actually be classified looks tempting at 2.37, given both the car and driver’s ability to blow up at any time, but in the end I think the Mercedes dominance and Hamilton’s history mean that a Grand Chelem is on the cards, and at 3.00 for the ‘Hat Trick’ (as Ladbrokes call it) of pole, fastest lap and win there is at least a little bit of value in it.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Hamilton to take pole, fastest lap and win (3.00 Ladbrokes)
    • Other predicitons
      • If dry:
        • Safety car to NOT be deployed (1.83 Bet365)
        • Classified finishers: Over 17.5 (1.83 Ladbrokes)
        • If wet:
          • Safety car to be deployed (1.83 Bet365)
          • Classified finishers: Under 17.5 (1.83 Ladbrokes)

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 6 lose for -3.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 4 lose for -2.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 4 lose for -0.95

F1 2014: Germany GP Preview

After missing any predictions around the British GP due to other commitments, I am cutting it close to the wire in reference to the German GP. I’d like to claim that I would have had all my predictions come in at Silverstone, but I don’t think that I would have predicted Hamilton’s impressive charge, or the SC/finishers!

Moving to Germany, there is a certain German sporting momentum that may be hard to beat. Certainly Rosberg’s greatest threat – his teammate – didn’t have a good session crashing heavily in Q1. I do hope that elements of the Silverstone crowd noted the lack of cheers at that point, and the supportive applause as Hamilton got out of the car. There has also been a lot of talk about FRIC suspension systems, their ‘ban’, the potential impact, and yet little on the fact that it appears to have made absolutely no difference.

So, with little notice, where are we in predictions for the Hockenheimring? Going for the simple ‘regular’ bets an analysis of the previous seasons isn’t helped by the sharing of German GP duties with the Nurburgring. But in terms of a safety car, for such a high speed track it is nothing like as much of a car breaker as the old circuit design used to be. My dubious analysis of the data shows only one since 2004 (6 runnings). The concern over a wet race also appears to have abated over the day. The odds available, however, are mixed. A ‘Yes’ for safety car deployment is 1.72 at Bet365 but 1.90 at Ladbrokes, with No 2.00 at Bet365 and 1.80 at Ladbrokes. This probably reflects the potentially random nature, and the fact that Ladbrokes are aware that any incident is likely to result in a safety car in these overly cautious days. Nonetheless, 2.00 is too good to pass up based on the history of the race.

The number of classified finishers is predicted at 17-18, with the Bet365 odds of 2.10 (<17), 3.00 (17-18) and 3.25 (>18). In this case, I believe it is worth sticking with the predictions behind the safety car, and favour the >18 market. The last race at the Hockenheimring in 2012 saw only one retirement, and that is what I am looking for this year (as long as Guttierez and Maldonado can keep out of each other’s way!).

For the race bet, a lot will depend on Hamilton. In Britain he showed immense talent in fighting his way up from 6th on the grid, and was challenging for the win by right even before Rosberg’s car gave up. But from 15th place is another matter entirely. It is difficult to see how he can get into a position to challenge quickly enough, although if any driver could it would be him, and if any car could it would be the Mercedes. Many of the markets think that he might, but I think that there is something of a chink in the armour of that team at the moment. Neither the drivers nor the team appear to be running in the same slick fashion as earlier this year, and so my selected bet reflects that by favouring what is becoming the clear ‘Number Two’ team – Williams. I am no fan of Massa, but he is certainly doing the business, but I am an admirer of Bottas who seems to have done wonders this season. With a good car, good qualifying, and a very positive attitude in the team, I think betting on both team cars to finish on the podium (3.25 at Ladbrokes) seems a decent chance.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Both Williams cars to finish on the podium (3.25 Ladbrokes)
    • Other predicitons
      • Safety car to NOT be deployed (2.00 Bet365)
      • Classified finishers: Over 18 (3.25 Bet365)

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 5 lose for -2.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 3 lose for -1.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 3 lose for +0.05

F1 2014: Austria GP Preview

The Austrian GP presents something of a problem in that it is the first running of the race since 2003. Given the changes in personnel, let alone cars in that time, it is just not possible to use historical evidence as a pointer to what may or may not happen in the race. Given that this seasons predictions for both safety cars and number of finishers are based on historical data, that leaves just an attempt to find a value bet for the race.

As this has been written after qualifying, the adverse result for Hamilton has to be looked at. The question here is whether it was a technical problem that may have an impact in the race, or just a one-off. Either way, Hamilton is down at 5.50 to win the race from 9th on the grid. That seems just a little too long for me. If the Williams get off to a good start, and hold up the other Mercedes of Rosberg, then Hamilton could easily get past the intervening runners to get himself into the mix. Clearly that is not what people expect, with Rosberg 1.90 for the win compared to 4.33 for Massa and a frankly insulting 9.00 for Bottas. With so little else on offer, I would have to go for Hamilton to surge back into the title contention with a win that would rival almost any other of his career.

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Hamilton to win (5.50 with many)
  • No other predictions

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 4 lose for -1.12
  • Safety car: 3 win, 3 lose for -1.66
  • Finishers: 3 win, 3 lose for +0.05

(I said it was depressing last time, it isn’t getting any better!)

F1 2014: Canada GP Preview

The Canadian GP is one of my personal favourites. The track offers pretty much everything that you could ask for, with some very fast sections, and nasty hairpin, ‘chicanes’ and a lovely little booby-trap that has well earned its nickname of the ‘Wall of Champions’. There have been some excellent races there, with more than its fair share of drama whether that is the aforementioned wall, the spectacular crash of Kubica (thankfully with no serious repercussions) or the pit lane ‘incidents’ that have seen the sort of shunt one would expect to be more likely at some inner city traffic lights!

That said, the very nature of the race makes it difficult to predict the possible outcomes from a betting perspective. Naturally there isn’t much that should stop the Mercedes (I can probably cut and paste this in for the rest of the season), but Hamilton is certainly edging out in front in the odds stakes, rated at 1.44 for this race compared to 3.25 for Rosberg. This seems a little unfair, although Lewis will be pushing very hard to make up for Monaco. Nonetheless, the 3.25 represents only a 30% chance for the German, and I think this is a little unfair.

The non-Mercedes market offers both Alonso and Vettel at 3.25. That is too short for Vettel, as this track won’t be a Red Bull favourite, but might be underplaying Alonso’s chances. I still like the FI performances, and ignoring Monaco (which is a bit surreal anyway), I think that 2.10 for both cars to finish in the points is quite a decent bet. More of a ‘punt’ would be for both Torro Rossos to score points at 10.00; that is a potentially decent return and with a race known for retirements it may well bear fruit.

The two traditional markets (as I will call them) won’t offer much value. The number of classified drivers comes in at 2.00 for under 18, 3.50 for 18-19 and 3.00 for over 19. Canada averages 31% retirements which represents 15.18 finishers, but the last race only saw 2 retirements and 20 finishers. Nevertheless, that was the anomaly in the data, and so the under 18 market appears the most logical.

The safety car to be deployed comes in at 1.50 for yes and 2.50 for no. Canada is notorious for the safety car, with previous deployments of 6 and 4 times in a race in its history, but not for the last two years. Given that the race is going to be dry, one element that usually results in the SC coming out won’t apply. In this case, rather than going for the greatest return I will ‘cover’ the under 18 prediction with a no for the safety car. Now you can guarantee that it will come out to clear out a single car accident which is the only retirement in the race!

Summary:

  • Selected Bet
    • Alonso to win in market without Hamilton or Rosberg (3.25 Ladbrokes)
  • Other predicitons
    • Safety car to NOT be deployed (2.50 Bet365)
    • Classified finishers: Under 18 (2.00 Bet365)

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

  • Selected bets: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.12
  • Safety car: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.66
  • Finishers: 2 win, 3 lose for -0.95

(Bit depressing that really!)

 

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