Formula 1 in 2017 promises to be even more exciting than ever. With major shake-ups to the rules and car specifications, spectators can expect faster lap times, (slightly) louder engines and more thrilling races. However, will the changes off the track help to change the status-quo when it comes to the podiums?
It is no secret that Formula 1 is notoriously rigid and predictable when it comes to the overall winners. While the race-winner may change from Grand Prix to Grand Prix, it is often quite clear which two drivers are going to challenge for the championship. Hint: they’re usually from the same team, and that team has most likely been the dominant force (or will be) for a number of years.
Can we expect any changes in the pecking order this time around? And what are the key betting strategies for Formula 1 on a race to race basis?
Rewriting the Rulebook
F1 is always changing. Almost every year, new regulations are introduced to alter the way in which constructors can develop their cars while rules are introduced to change what drivers can and cannot do during races. Be it with the intent to level the playing field, make the sport safer or cut the carbon footprint, regulation changes ensure that every Formula 1 season is different to the last. Here are some of the key rule changes in 2017 that might affect how you bet on F1:
- Aggressive cars: F1 cars in 2017 will be wider and heavier that the cars in 2016. While this might not sound like a recipe for faster racing, the aerodynamics will generate more downforce and, in turn, more speed.
- Tyres that go the distance: new Pirelli tyres brought in this season are wider and said to last longer than those in previous years – could this affect team strategies in 2017?
- Power struggles: this year, a rule change will limit the amount of power units a driver can use to four per season. While this is more a cost-cutting initiative than an aim to change the racing itself, it could cause elements of unpredictability later in the season.
The big question on everyone’s lips is: will these changes allow for more overtaking? Well, some pundits and drivers – Fernando Alonso among them – say yes; faster cars and more downforce in the turn makes for more aggressive manoeuvres all round. On the flip side, Lewis Hamilton has claimed that more downforce won’t amount to more overtaking since the grip still isn’t there in the tyres. It’s anyone’s call.
Whether it was Michael Shumacher and Ferrari in the early 2000s, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull from 2010-2013, or Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Mercedes in more recent times, once a driver and constructor have established their dominance, it is very difficult to knock them off their perch. Can anyone take over Mercedes in 2017?
If there is going to be any challenger to Toto Wolff’s team in the race to the Constructors Championship, then it is going to be Ferrari. The Italian team have looked to be as on-fire as their red-hot paint-job in pre-season testing and this has been noticed by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. The Brit even claimed that the Ferrari was faster than his own team – but was this just gamesmanship? The only other constructor worth thinking about is Red Bull, who always pitch in with the odd victory now and again. However, much of Red Bull’s potential success this season could hinge on how the team deal with the rivalry between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Here are the outright odds for the Constructors Championship: Mercedes (4/7), Ferrari (15/8), Red Bull (18/1)
You could argue that there are more options in the Drivers Championship outright betting markets. After all, there are six drivers in total driving cars with genuine race winning potential. Then again, all the early season talk is about a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – which is in itself an interesting proposition since they’re driving different cars. It’s pretty close in terms of odds but Hamilton just gets to the chequered flag with even odds (1/1) over Vettel (6/4). If you’re interested in backing an outsider, then you could go for Valteri Bottas (11/1), Kimi Raikkonen (20/1), Max Verstappen (25/1) and Daniel Ricciardo (33/1).
Race market tips
It’s safe to say that the outright markets in Formula aren’t as lucrative as those in other sports. However, that is not to say that there isn’t plenty of exciting betting action to be had when it comes to individual races. There are so many components of a Grand Prix weekend, from the practice sessions to qualifying and finally the race itself. Here are some interesting bets you should keep in mind:
- Qualifying Winning Margin: Let’s face it, qualifying is usually a race between the two drivers in the fastest car on that given weekend. So why not make things interesting by betting the margin between the pole lap and the second qualifying lap?
- Winning Margin: Likewise, if you think that the driver on pole is simply going to run away from the field, try to guess how big a margin he can win by.
- Podium Finish/Points Finish: every now and again, be it by sheer epic driving or a wet-race, someone ends up on the podium or in the points who you normally wouldn’t expect to be there.
- First Driver to Retire: nothing beats a good crunch-up at the first corner (as long as know one gets hurt…). You can make the beginning of the race even more exciting by backing a driver to retire first. This market is particularly interesting because it could really be anyone!
- Race Winner Grid Position: not every Grand Prix winner starts from pole position. If the race is taking place on a track that promotes overtaking – or if there is a rainstorm in the forecast – then there is every chance that drivers can work through the field to the chequered flag.
Things to Consider
Now that you know the odds on offer and the types of bets that could make the race weekend a little bit more thrilling, here are some tips and hints that you should consider in your 2017 Formula 1 betting strategy:
- Know the circuit: do you know your Monzas from your Circuit Gilles Villeneuves? Well, one of them is notoriously difficult to overtake on and the other isn’t.
- Team orders: one of the downsides of modern Formula 1 racing is that teams tend to give orders to their drivers which may alter the final standings, such as letting a teammate pass if they have a better chance at scoring more points. It’s good to know which teams are prone to do this and which driver they favour.
- Live in-play: one of the best things about F1 racing is that it is perfect for live in-play betting. So much can change during the race, from a quick downpour of rain to a safety car. These events can seriously shake up the race order, making it possible to find longer odds on race winner markets.
- Early season v late season: drivers and their teams have only a short window in which to practise before season begins. As such, there may be some surprises in the first half of the campaign as they continue to tinker with engine settings. Conversely, later on in the season, teams tend to settle and things become more predictable.
- Do your homework: get into the nitty-gritty of the statistics by checking out the following sites for F1 statistics:- http://www.4mula1.ro/