How to Bet on Formula 1: Expert Tips and Betting Strategies

Formula 1 car

The Sport

Formula 1 is an enormous sport.  The average global viewing audience for each race of the season is 490 million and just shy of 200,000 people attend the average race weekend.

The Formula 1 road-show is made up of 21 races, the season stretches from mid-March until the start of December.  The ten teams and 20 drivers visit all parts of the world from Melbourne, Australia to Austin Texas, Sochi, Russia to Shanghai in China.

No two circuits are the same. Some such as Monza in Italy feature long fast straights. Others, like the fabled Monaco, or tight and twisty street circuits where overtaking is neigh impossible.

Similarly some races take place in hot and humid countries, others are prone to changeable weather conditions (such as Sao Paulo, Brazil) and one, in Mexico City, is at altitude which plays havoc with turbo-charges engines.

These ingredients combine to make the F1 sport an intriguing betting medium as an impressive race winner at one venue may find his car is completely unsuited to the demands of the circuit it is racing on a week or two later.

Formula 1 Betting Opportunities

A Formula 1 race weekend consists of several parts.  The action starts on a Friday morning (local time) with an opening practice session.  There is a second practice session on the Friday afternoon and a third on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon is when the all-important qualifying session while the race itself takes place on the Sunday.

Sportsbooks do not miss a trick with a betting market on who will top the time-sheets in the opening practice session open from the Monday prior to F1 race day.  Similarly there are prices available on qualifying and race winner markets.

What Formula 1 Betting Markets are there?

Firstly it must be noted you can bet on the outcome of the World Championship throughout the course of the year.  Every race carries the same point scoring scenario of 25 points to the winner, 18 for second, 15 for third all the way down to a single point for finishing tenth.  Additionally, new in 2019, there is an additional point awarded to the driver that claims the race’ fastest lap – providing they finish in the top-10.  That’s interesting as ‘fastest lap’ in a market you can bet on.

Once the points are totted-up a World Champion is crowned – in 2018 that was Lewis Hamilton who netted a total of 408 World Championship points.

But, on a week-to-week basis, it is the outcome of the Saturday feature ‘qualifying’ that many are initially interested in.  The markets obviously include just who will set the fastest qualifying time and therefore start the race from pole position.  But you can hedge your bets on ‘which car will start on pole’ – a reminder each team has two cars.  You can also bet on the margin of superiority the fastest car will enjoy over the second fastest.

F1 Race Day Betting Markets

The leading UK bookmaking brands, such as William Hill and Bet365 will offer a plethora of race day markets, many of which are opened in the days leading up to the race and are regularly updated.  Amongst these you will find:

  • Betting on F1 Race Winner
  • Podium Finish (a top 3 finish)
  • Top 6 Finish
  • Points Finish (a top 10 finish)
  • Both Cars Points Finish (both of a team’s cars to finish in the top 10)
  • Betting on F1 Race Winning Margin
  • Individual Driver to Be Classified (being ‘classified requires a driver to complete 90 percent of the laps of the full race distance)
  • Nationality of the Winner
  • Betting on Formula 1 First Constructor Retirement
  • Grid Position of the winner
  • Number of Classified Finishers
  • Driver Match Bets (normally a market on teammates – who will finish ahead)
  • Safety Car (will, or will there not, be need for a Safety Car to be used)

Settlement

Bets on ‘race winner’ and ‘podium finish’ are settled when the ‘winner’ steps on the top podium step.  In the rare event of a post-race disqualification all bets will be still be settled on the ‘podium’ positions.  All others are settled when official results are made public – normally within 30 minutes of the race conclusion.

Are There Other Ways to Bet on Formula 1?

In addition to the established UK as well as U.S. online sportsbooks the Betfair Betting Exchange allow you to ‘trade’ on a number of Formual1 results and you can also bet or lay drivers in-play’ as the race, which normally last 90 minutes, unfolds.

Spread betting firms, such as Sporting Index, also offer Formula 1 markets and more and more betting opportunities are set to join the fold as the sport’s owners have recently announced a $100 million sponsorship and data rights deal with sports marketing company Interregional Sports Group (ISG) and integrity service and data provider Sportradar.

“Data and sponsorship partnerships like this are common practice across almost all premium sports and this is the latest step in our mission to make Formula One the world’s leading sports entertainment experience,” said Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations when announcing the deal in September 2018.  So, it would appear in-running odds, via bookmaker branded on-screen and trackside signage, will soon be an integrated feature of the sport.

Photo by Shawn Ang

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