Formula 1 is truly an international sport, with races held all over the world. Not only does this expose fans & drivers to a number of the world’s best racing circuits, but it also generates betting action from all over the globe.
As a popular international sport, F1 betting is offered by betting sites based out of almost every country. While serious F1 handicappers need to shop for the best prices, casual punters can essentially pick a book and place a bet.
Check out Ryan’s opinion on the Best F1 Betting Site
How to Bet on Formula One Auto Racing
The most popular way to bet on F1 auto racing is on the outright winner of a race. From there, online bookmakers offer their own variety of other bets, including matchup bets, podium finishers, futures & props.
Betting on Outright F1 Winners
As mentioned above, bets on the outright winner of a race are the most popular type of F1 wager. It’s the most basic type of bet where punters simply choose who they think will win the race.
In most F1 seasons, only 5-7 drivers will win races. It’s a top-heavy sport where a small number of drivers win all of the races. As a rule, it’s best to put your money on drivers (and constructors) who have won recently – those that have proven they can win.
As an international sport with races in multiple countries, value can often be found by betting against drivers who are from the country where the current race is being held. For example, Australian driver Mark Webber is likely to generate a high volume of betting action during the Australian Grand Prix. This is because the race will generate a lot more interest from Australian punters than other races, and countrymen tend to bet on their countrymen. This pushes Webber’s odds down, increasing the odds for other top drivers.
For serious punters, the best idea is to keep your heart out of it and place your bets with your head.
Some betting sites offer betting on podium finishers – drivers that will finish in the top 3. When one driver is a clear favourite offering poor odds as an outright winner, podium finisher bets can be the place to find value. For example, you might find Sebastian Vettel offering 5/6 odds to win the race, or 3/2 on Lewis Hamilton to finish on the podium. Vettel can only finish in first position for an outright winners bet on him to pay 5/6. However, Hamilton can finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, and pay out a much more profitable 3/2 odds.
F1 Matchup Betting
A matchup bet is where two or more drivers are put into a grouping, and the punters job is to figure out which of those drivers will have the best finish. When the grouping consists of just two drivers, these are usually called head-to-head bets. When it’s 3 or more drivers in a group, they’re called matchups.
Betting on matchups can be fun because it eliminates most of the drivers in the field, making them easier to win. As a rule, when a matchup includes the top 5-6 drivers, this is NOT a smart matchup to wager on. The reason is because the winner of the race will usually come out of this group anyway, but the odds are much lower than a standard outright win. In this case, place a bet on the outright winner instead and get the better odds.
Formula One Prop Bets
Prop bets are any types of wagers that don’t fit into the standard betting categories. In F1 auto racing, they’re generally more creative bets based on specific events or results that don’t relate to the race winner.
Examples of typical F1 prop bets:
- Fastest Lap
- Fastest Qualifier
- First Driver to Retire
- Over/under on seasonal race wins per driver.
F1 World Drivers Championship Futures Betting
Futures bets for the World Drivers Championship are generally offered soon after the previous F1 season has ended. Some betting sites close these bets just before the season begins, while others keep them open deep into the season.
Since winning futures bets don’t pay out until the end of the season, these types of bets are more popular with casual punters than professionals. For someone working with a set bankroll, it’s better to stay liquid and turn that money over on multiple, short-term wagers. If you have a set bankroll, we recommend keeping your Drivers Championship bets to a maximum of 1% of your bankroll.
F1 World Constructors Championship Futures Betting
The World Constructors Championship is given to the top engine/car combination. Since the top driver accumulates the most points, the World Constructors Championship usually goes to the constructor of the car driven by the Drivers Champion. However, since this is a team championship, other drivers on the team must also perform well. For example, the top driver could be driving a Red Bull Racing Renault while his teammate finished in fifth. If McLaren-Mercedes drivers were to finish 2nd & 3rd, they would likely win the WCC.
With that said, in 23 of the last 27 (85.2%) F1 seasons (1984-2010), the World Constructors Championship has been won by the team who also won the World Drivers Championship. This means that your Drivers Championship and Constructors Championship futures bets should typically coincide with each other.
F1 Betting Tips & Strategy
The first and most important rule in F1 betting is to never bet on a driver or constructor who hasn’t won recently. Until a driver proves he can win now, he’s not worth your bet.
It’s very difficult for F1 drivers to win 3 or more races in a row. Since 2007, there have been 14 instances where a driver has won back-to-back races. In those 14 instances, only 2 of those drivers went on to win the third race (14.3%). While this is a small sample size, this is an indicator of tough it is to dominate race after race.
There are legitimate reasons for this. One reason it’s tough to win three races in a row is because different circuits suit drivers & cars differently. Some cars have top speed power, better suited for long, open circuits. Some cars lack the fastest top-speed, but maneuver better on short, twisty circuits. Add to all this the chances of crashing, mechanical errors, driver mistakes etc., and any one of these things can be the reason why a driver can’t win that third race in a row.