Formula 1 (F1) Betting Guide

Formula 1

For all its glitz and glamour, its high-revs and tyre screeching, and its incessant acceptance – nay, embracing – of every endorsement opportunity that comes its way, it must be remembered that Formula 1 is a sport. Well, that’s what fans of this rolling circus of motor might would have us believe. But whatever your thoughts on Bernie Ecclestone’s ultimate plaything, the sport has garnered such a wide following in recent decades that the bookies have started to embrace F1 too.

With more bookmakers than ever offering betting markets on this most prestigious of motorsport competitions, there has never been a better time to bet on Formula 1. So read on for the most popular betting types, the rules that could cause you to have kittens and strategies to employ when trying to make a profit from betting on the richest sport on four wheels.

How To Bet On Formula 1

With each Grand Prix offering different challenges that suit the particular strengths of specific drivers or teams, along with the various rules and regulations that serve to increase safety and competitiveness alike, Formula 1 provides rich pickings for sports betting fans. Here are some of the best bets out there.

F1 Bets

  • Grand Prix winner – This is simply backing the driver you think will win a specific Grand Prix. You can place this bet at any stage from before the first practice session to well into the race itself (with bookies who offer in-play betting).
  • Podium finish – Similar to a “to place” bet in horse racing, here you are backing a driver to finish on the podium, i.e. in the first three. Your chances increase compared to the race winner bet, but obviously your odds go the other way.
  • Pole position – This involves backing a driver to qualify fastest for the race and hence start at the front of the grid in pole position.
  • Hat-trick – This bet – seen as a novelty by some, but a lucrative additional betting market to others – involves picking a driver who you think will get pole position, have the fastest lap of the race and win the Grand Prix itself. Usually available at large odds given the infrequency (these days) of its occurrence.
  • Outright championship betting – Here you can bet on which driver or team will win their respective championship over the course of the season. You are able to place such bets either prior to the commencement of a given season or indeed anytime up to the final race (if they haven’t already been decided).
  • Various race bets – There are plenty of options for betting on events that may take place within a given Grand Prix. For instance you can bet on whether or not the safety car will appear during a race, the number of cars that will make it to the finish or which car will be the first to retire from the race.

Formula 1 Betting Rules

In such a technical sport that involves various provision for issuing penalties to drivers or teams retrospectively, there are a few betting rules of which you should be aware. For instance, most bookies will pay out based on the result at the time of the official FIA podium presentation, even if one or more of the drivers are subsequently disqualified or demoted.

If a race is abandoned for whatever reason, most bookmakers will void all bets, though some may stand if they have already been completed – for instance the race may have been abandoned long after the first retirement had occurred, with all such bets already having perhaps been settled.

Formula 1 Betting Strategy

When betting on F1, know your tracks and know your cars. Understanding the relative merits of cars – and the drivers in them of course – and how they relate to the traits of the specific Grand Prix racetracks can give you a massive advantage when it comes to picking out the winning bets. For instance, if you know that a particular team always performs well in qualification, but drops away in the race itself, you might find some value in backing them to do well in places where overtaking is a challenge, such as Monaco.

Also, doing your research between races – especially when there are breaks of a few weeks – can be of crucial importance when seeking the bets to chase. If you find out a team has had a breakthrough with a particular component of their car that had been particularly troublesome, they could be overpriced for the next race and hence worth backing. The past form of drivers on particular tracks can also offer a fair indication of how they will perform when returning.

While much of this information is freely available, many will simply back the bookies’ favourite even if he crashed out of the last two visits to the circuit ahead of someone who has had a tough season but has won two of the last three there. Often returning to a favoured circuit can reignite a driver’s competitive edge and make a mockery of long odds, and a healthy profit for you.

Format & Major Races

Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or simply F1, is the highest class of motorsport racing on the planet. With astronomical amounts of money being pumped into the high-octane sport each year, Formula One is one of the richest and most prestigious sports series in the world.

As of 2017, 20 drivers – who are spread across 10 teams (with two drivers in each team) – compete over the course of a seven-month period, usually from March to November. Along the way, they do battle on 20 gruelling, unforgiving, world-class and spectacular tracks.

The events take place all over the world, ranging from the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, all the way to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The number of races over the course of a season has changed drastically throughout the years, with several Grand Prix’s in various countries coming and going. The first non-championship race was held way back in 1946, with the World Drivers’ Championship forming the following year. In 1950, there were only seven Grand Prix venues, compared to the 20 courses we’re treated to these days.

Formula One cars are the fastest racing cars in the world, reaching staggering speeds of up to 233 mph. With extremely fast wheel-to-wheel action, tight corners and impeccably skilled drivers, it’s no surprise that nearly 500 million people from around the world tune in to watch the action every season.

As we touched on, F1 is an extremely pricy sport, even the steering wheels costs in the region of £20,000. Ever since Bernie Ecclestone took over in the 1970s, Formula One has grown into a huge business. In 2016, the company made a profit of around £1.4 billion, with one half going to the teams, and the other half going to the F1 group and shareholders. The top drivers can earn in the region of £30 million a year before bonuses.

With a number of outstanding events in the calendar each year, we’ll be giving you an insight to the biggest, most popular and most prestigious Formula One Grand Prix venues and races, what makes them so special and unique, and why they draw such huge crowds.

British Grand Prix

One of the most popular races on the calendar is the British Grand Prix, which takes place at Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England. Racing at this famous, old circuit began all the way back in the 1940s. Since then, we’ve seen many memorable Grands Prix at this venue.

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, who’s a three-time world champion, won at Silverstone three years in a row from 2014 to 2016. At the time of writing, Hamilton has won four British Grands Prix at this venue. Since the first F1 race at Silverstone back in 1950, eight Brits have triumphed on this world-famous circuit, including the likes of Jim Clark, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and David Coulthard. This venue has been going strong since 1987, and is contracted to F1 until 2026.

Monaco Grand Prix

Without doubt, the most prestigious race on the current calendar is the Monaco Grand Prix which takes place through the streets of this principality. The Circuit de Monaco is filled with glitz and glamour, with hard and fast racing to boot, as the Monte Carlo event oozes sophistication. You will struggle to find a racing venue in any motorsport as stunning as this one.

With several tight corners and elevation changes, thousands of fans flock to Monaco each year for this outstanding annual race. The late, great Ayrton Senna has won more Monaco Grands Prix than any other driver in history, with six crowns to his name. Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher are joint second on five. Meanwhile, McLaren are the most successful team on this track at present, securing an unrivalled 15 wins at this spectacular circuit.

USA Grand Prix

The United States Grand Prix is another event that excites the crowds each year. This particular race has been held in the States in one form or another since 1908, originally as the American Grand Prize, and later joining F1. At this current time, there have been 38 editions under the Formula One flag, with those Grands Prix taking place in six different locations in the US over the years. Since 2012, it’s been held at the Circuit of the Americas in Elroy, Texas.

Hamilton, who’s made a huge impact in the sport since his debut in 2007, has won the US GP five times (at the time of writing), joining with Michael Schumacher at the top of the standings. The Herefordshire-born star won this race three years in a row in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The event’s friendly atmosphere and unique set of spectators makes this one of the most popular races on the Grand Prix calendar.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Last, but by no means least, is the spectacle of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is often the final GP of the season these days. The first race in the United Arab Emirates took place in 2009, and it has grown stronger and stronger as each year has passed by. F1 opened its doors to Abu Dhabi in the shape of the first ever Formula One Festival in 2007, two years later, they were racing at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Once again, Lewis Hamilton holds the joint record for most wins at a venue, as he has finished in first position on three occasions (2011, 2014 and 2016), with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel also securing three Abu Dhabi GP wins. The inaugural Grand Prix in the UAE was the first ever day-night race, which was won by Sebastian Vettel who was driving for Red Bull at the time.

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