Formula 1 betting sites have come up with some very clever ideas over the years to keep things interesting for punters. Newcomers are usually surprised to find dozens of markets on what appear to be simple sporting events from the outside. The more you read into F1 betting, the more apparent it becomes that this is just as bet-friendly a sport as any other.

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F1 racing is an international race tour consisting of 20 events held across several continents. Each year, one driver and one constructor are crowned FIA World Champions. Season standings and the ultimate champions are decided by a point based system connected to Grand Prix results.

F1 racing was formed just after World War 2 under the name Deferation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA). The organization grew slowly through the 1950s and 60s until it finally started to become a commercial entity in the 1970s.

Today, Formula 1 is the world’s most popular form of motorsport racing. It is especially popular in Europe but boasts fans from around the world. NASCAR still maintains dominance in the United States, but F1 reigns supreme on the international stage.

Major Formula 1 Races and Events

With just 20 races during last year’s F1 season, every race is a major event. Those that stand out as especially important are the Australian, British, Japanese and Monaco Grand Prix events. Every circuit provides unique challenges for drivers and race teams, which makes it a challenging season for any one team. Some teams have been noted to spend more than $400 million USD in a single season.

F1 betting sites attract significant action in the run-up to every race of the season. If you ever feel like trying your hand at F1 racing betting online, all you have to do is head to any major bookmaking website. All the big names in online gambling cover the entire F1 season with a variety of wagers, props and matchup bets.

How to Bet On Formula One Races Online

Formula 1 is the subject of a large assortment of betting markets at the world’s major racing betting sites. In the days before a Grand Prix event, the markets open on a variety of outcomes such as the eventually winner, fastest qualifier, fastest lap, winning car, grid position of the winner and much more. Live, in-play betting is also offered by some of the bigger online bookmakers.

F1 racing has a large assortment of betting markets that include qualifying rounds and the international races. Bettors can bet on which driver they think will win each particular race, a top three finish, and an assortment of proposition bets and future wagers. Live betting or in-play wagering is also available at most online sportsbook for Formula One. Now, let’s review the most common types of F1 wagers.

Most F1 punters begin with placing their bets on the outright winner of a race. Fans of the sport looking to add some fun can just place their bets and cross their fingers, but serious punters looking to make consistent profits need to know a few things.

It’s easy to pick a driver based on who is hot right now, but a lot of insight can be gained with a small amount of research. Often times, this can lead to finding a driver who offers much greater odds who has just as good of chance of winning as the favourite.

First, in most F1 seasons, only a handful of drivers will win races. To put this in perspective, only 5-7 drivers win races in most F1 seasons, while there are usually 12-16 different winners in NASCAR. Part of this is due to the fact that NASCAR has nearly twice as many races in a season, but there are several other reasons for this as well.

F1 is a top-heavy sport where the best teams get most of the sponsorship money. This makes it harder for the smaller teams to crack the podium, keeping a small number of teams on top. Also, some F1 circuits are very tight, offering fewer opportunities for overtaking. Drivers starting in top positions on circuits like these get passed less often, and have less risk of getting involved in high-traffic crashes. Drivers starting towards the front have most of their traffic in front or behind them, not side to side where the risk of crashing is much higher.

In NASCAR, there are a lot of times when cars are running two or three wide, and just one mistake or mechanical failure can take out several cars at a time. This is much rarer in F1, especially for drivers in front. Drivers that start in front tend to stay in front.

With a small number of drivers that are likely to win, the odds for outright winners are fairly tight. In seasons without a single driver dominating, the odds can be very close for 4-5 drivers, then dramatically greater for the rest of the field. When looking at historical stats, the vast majority of F1 winners come from the top five positions on the starting grid. In some races, it’s even tighter than that, where most winners come from the top two or three starting positions. At the Grand Prix de Monaco, many winners come straight from the pole.

Always study the circuit before placing a bet on the outright winner. If the course is very difficult for overtaking, drivers starting on the pole or top few positions have a much greater advantage than they do on circuits that generate more passing opportunities.
On circuits that offer more overtaking opportunities, punters can look for value down to the top five or six starting positions. This is the wrong sport to look for long-shots. Instead, look for the best value on drivers that have a realistic shot at winning.

Bets for podium finishers (also called ‘top 3 bets’) aren’t as easy to find as matchups, but there are still a number of online bookmakers that offer them. These are simple wagers where picking a driver who will finish in the top 3 is the goal. It doesn’t matter if they finish first, second, or third – the payout is the same.

At some of the tighter circuits where it’s difficult to overtake, picking podium finishers can be simple – barring a crash or mechanical failure. The Circuit de Monaco is a great example, where passing is close to impossible. In a race like this, it’s often best to pick the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th qualifier because their odds will usually be much greater than picking the favourite.

On circuits that are easier for drivers to pass, look for value down to the 6th starting position.

F1 prop bets are wagers that are generally based on individual or unique events during a race. While they’re fun for casual punters, prop bets usually have a higher vig (juice) than bets on outright winners, meaning that serious punters need to discriminate.

Typical Prop Bets

  • What driver will lead the most laps?
  • What driver will record the fastest lap during practice?
  • First driver to retire during a race.
  • Winning margin.
  • Who will be the first driver to make a pitstop?
  • Will driver X lead a lap during the race?
  • Will driver Y get caught speeding in the pit lane?

Futures work just like any other bet except they look forward further into the future. The most popular futures wager in F1 racing each year is predicting the winner of the Drivers Championship. This one opens at the beginning of the season and remains open until one driver is certain to win on points. The oddsmakers adjust the odds on futures as the season progresses, but your payout odds are locked in at the time you place the bet.

In seasons where one driver is pulling out a big lead, a lot of bookmakers will offer a futures bet that does not include that driver. So, you’re betting on the driver who will finish second in the World Drivers Championship instead of the winner. A good example of this is the 2011 F1 season when Sebastian Vettel won six of the first 8 races. Betting sites started offering WDC futures bets where Vettel was taken out of the equation, giving punters something to bet on where they still had a chance to win.

If a betting site offers any other type of F1 betting, they usually offer World Constructors Championship futures as well. If you’re not familiar, the World Constructors Championship is given to the most successful engine/car constructor throughout a season.

For example, Red Bull Racing – Renault, McLaren-Mercedes, and Ferrari are constructors.

In most seasons, the constructor of the World Drivers Championship car will also win the World Constructors Championship. While it’s possible for a driver to win without his constructor winning, it’s generally a good idea to pick a driver and constructor in combination. For example, if you were going to pick Sebastian Vettel for the Drivers Championship, you should also choose his constructor, RBR-Renault.

Head-to-head matchup bets are wagers where punters choose which of two drivers will have the highest finish. These are fun bets to make because there is only one driver to beat, meaning they’re easy bets to win. The key to making money with head-to-head matchups bets is to have accounts at several online betting sites and find the best odds. Many online bookmakers offer head-to-head matchups, and the same bets can usually be found at multiple sites.

To make these bets competitive, online bookmakers generally pit closely matched drivers against each other – offering fairly tight odds as well. The typical odds range for a head-to-head matchup bet is going to be in the 1/2 to 5/2 area.

Once again, compare the circuit to starting positions. Circuits that are difficult for overtaking greatly benefit the driver with the better starting position.

Most online bookmakers offer another type of matchup bet where 3-6 drivers are pitted against each other. The same as in head-to-head matchups, a punters job is to select which driver in the group will have the best finish in the race.

Stay away from matchup bets that include the top 5-6 drivers. In Formula One, long-shots rarely win. So, in a matchup that includes all of the top drivers, the winner of the race will likely come from this group. Since the odds are much better for bets on outright winners, place that bet instead.

Formula 1 Daily Fantasy Sites

Fantasy Formula 1 puts you in the driver’s seat of your own racing team. Your goal as a manager is to draft a team of capable drivers and then score as many fantasy points as possible based on their real world performances in races. As your drivers achieve success on the track, you get points and move up in the fantasy rankings.

At the end of the season, the person with the most points wins the league. Most leagues are hosted for fun and bragging rights, but there are a couple fantasy websites that award real money prizes to the winners. On this page, I’m going to provide a summary of how it all works and talk about a few of the largest fantasy sites that host F1 leagues.

Types of F1 Fantasy Leagues

F1 leagues can be hosted in a number of formats. Your primary goal in any type of league is to identify drivers who are capable of performing well on race day. The better you are at spotting talent, the more success you will see as a contestant.

Season Long: Most online F1 leagues last an entire season. In a season long league, you draft your team prior to the first race and keep that team for the duration of the racing season. Some leagues allow you to make substitutions or exchange a limited number of drivers between races.

Daily Fantasy: This is the most popular league format in other sports but I don’t know of any sites that offer daily fantasy F1 games. If one of the big DFS sites ever does expand into F1, it will most likely offer games that cover just a couple of races. You would draft your drivers in the usual manner, but the league would only last for two or three races. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the last race would win a cash reward.

Predictor Leagues: In a predictor league, you attempt to predict the finishing positions of drivers for upcoming races. Points are awarded when your predictions are proven correct or when you come pretty close. The person who accumulates the most points over the course of a season wins the league.

Major Formula 1 Fantasy Sites

Fantasy Formula 1 was a neglected market until recently. In 2018, PlayON.co launched daily fantasy and season-long contests in cooperation with Formula 1 to give fans the best new place to play F1. There are several other sites that offer F1 racing, but PlayON is by far the best option today.

PlayON logo 1

PlayON.co: PlayON offers daily fantasy Formula 1 contests in addition to season-long leaderboards that also offer prizes of their own. Every F1 fantasy contest at PlayON lasts for just a single race and offers payouts immediately. Over the course of the season, your best daily fantasy scores are tallied up and ranked on a global leaderboard for a chance to win additional prizes such as VIP trips to visit a Grand Prix of your choice.

The Formula 1 website also hosts season-long leagues that offer similar prizes including tickets to Grands Prix, free access to F1 TV and more. The F1 season-long leagues are hosted at the F1 website but are also powered by PlayON.co technology. If you want to play daily fantasy games, just head on over to PlayON.co.

Learn more at: www.playon.co

Quick Tips

Betting Formula One racing is easy to jump into but difficult to master. Each new season in F1 comes with changes and new circuits that affect the driver’s and crews’ approach to each race. A wide knowledge of drivers and crew tactics, along with personal rivalries is critical to success when betting Formula One. In-play bettors must especially have a handle on exactly what is going at each part of the race and need to know when to pounce on the bookmakers’ lines at the right time.

Weather plays a huge role in motor sports so don’t get lazy and discount the forecast. Rain slows things way down and serves as a great equalizer between racing teams. The most technical drivers shine in poor weather where reduced top speeds mitigate the efforts of big-budget teams. Check the forecast for rain and then do your research to see how each driver fared in the past under similar conditions.

The track itself also plays a role in determining how each race is run. Look for the go-fast, big-budget teams on tracks with long straight. Look to the past and observe practice runs for races that take place on tracks with sharper turns and slower top speeds. Some drivers and teams just perform better than others on certain types of tracks.

Don’t forget to take into account recent form form the driver, keep up to date with grid penalties and keep your bets small relative to the size of your bankroll. F1 betting sites will happily grant you any amount of action you think you can handle; it’s up to you to set your limits and stick to them.

The harder it is to pass at a circuit, the more the starting grid positions matter. Always check the circuit before placing your bets. For example, the Grand Prix de Monaco and Australian Grand Prix are known to be tracks where it’s very difficult to pass, and many winners come from the top three, if not the pole position. Get educated on the circuit before placing your bets.

At even the most wide open circuits with a lot of overtaking opportunities, almost every race is won by someone who qualified in the top 5. F1 is a terrible sport for betting on long-shots. Look for value within the top drivers, not to strike it rich on a prayer.

Serious handicappers need to find the best odds possible for every bet. If you’re looking to place a lot of bets on F1 auto racing, register at several of the top betting sites. This will allow you to find the best odds on the driver of your choice.

If you’re looking to bet on a winner before qualifying has ended, you’re essentially betting on the qualifying itself. This is especially true on circuits where it’s tough to overtake. At the Circuit de Monaco for example, the winner of the race often comes from the pole position. So, if you had bet on the favoured driver before qualifying, and that driver starts in the 3rd position, the odds on the driver you selected would be much greater after qualifying than they were when you placed your bet.

Of course the opposite can happen also, if you bet on a driver who wasn’t favored before qualifying who comes out and takes the pole. So, in general terms, if you’re going to bet on the favourite before qualifying, you have more to lose than to gain. If you bet on the 2nd-5th favoured drivers and they move up to the pole or 2nd starting positions, you’ve done good by locking in greater odds before he became a bigger favourite.

F1 Bookmakers, Weak Marketing and Opportunities

Now, let us consider how the strange relationship between the world’s best Formula 1 betting sites and the industry itself present opportunities for the average punter. We’ll start with a little background information and then explain what this means for you from a betting point of view.

With a global audience in excess of 425 million people, Formula 1 holds the mantle as the world’s leading motorsport. Using cutting edge technology, it is also incredibly expensive. Current estimates suggest even a mid-field team requires an annual budget of $120 million to seriously compete.

To fund this colossal business, which currently features ten teams and 20 cars, the sport cashes in on the sales of television rights, merchandise, spectator tickets and corporate sponsorship. With such impressive viewing figures (aired across 200+ countries every weekend), you would think the big sportsbooks would be clambering all over it.

Strangely, they are not. Betclick.com’s logo was sighted around the fabled Monte Carlo street circuit a few times in the late 2010’s and Malta-based Interwetten, whose customer base is primarily German, did sponsor the Lotus team in 2012.

FullTilt Poker threw backmarkers Marussia Virgin Racing some money for the second half of the 2010 season (in exchange for branding) but the glory days of the mid ‘naughties’ were devoid of any true sportsbook involvement.

However, Eurobet (now Coral.co.uk) did have a major sponsorship deal with the TWR Arrows team way back in 2001 when their cars featured a striking livery.  In fact, they were the epitome of a very fast moving billboard.

But essentially, it has been a very truncated and mysterious love affair.

Why mysterious? Because the growth potential from a bookmaker’s viewpoint is seemingly enormous. The men with spreadsheets already know the typical F1 fan bets three times more money than the average soccer supporter yet Formula 1 only accounts for two percent of their turnover. For comparison, British bookmakers credit football with over fifty percent. It is football that continues to attract so much of online bookmakers’ marketing budgets.

Since 2009 Betfred, Betfair, Bwin and Marathonbet have all been associated with Manchester United, one of the world’s most well-known clubs. Meanwhile, most clubs in the UK’s Premiership and Championship divisions are sponsored by sportsbooks.

With so many sportsbooks chasing the same customers, one would presume a major bookmaker would take a leap of faith and stand out from the crowd by becoming a serious player in F1 with a sponsorship of a front-running team.  And yet, there is still nothing to be seen on the periscope.

A small number of daily fantasy sports sites have taken it upon themselves to capitalize on the opportunities provided by F1 racing. These are mostly smaller sites, but they have proven staying power and continue to attract new customers year after year. If you ever feel like switching it up from traditional sports betting to try something new, Fantasy F1 may be worth a look.

F1 Betting Offers Clear Opportunities

What this apparent apathy towards Formula 1 has done is create opportunities for punters. Sportsbooks are clearly putting limited human resources into the sport and their oddsmakers face a monumental battle in correctly pricing-up races in the backdrop of such a massive public consensus.

Additionally (and it is a sad indictment of the sport), F1 has become somewhat predictable in recent years.  The Mercedes team are currently all-conquering, it is a baton they took over from the Red Bull team who won four World Championship titles between 2010 and 2013.

Resultantly, win only markets now account for very little betting turnover. Markets such as podium finish, top-6 finish and points finish (top-10) are equally popular.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Joining the list is winning margin, deployment of the safety car, pole setter, fastest lap and number of finishers. That’s before match bets and the real obscure stuff such as the first car to retire.

In total, the typical F1 race offers up over 150 betting opportunities yet no handicap bets are ever on offer. That territory is seemingly left to spread-betting companies such as Spreadex and SportingIndex, albeit spread-betting is technically not handicap betting; those are just elaborate “superiority wagers.”

I digress.

Unquestionably, the best tool in any F1 betting kit has to be statistics. Yes, regulations change subtly every season and the value of past form has to be questioned, but a full autopsy of previous results still clearly shows defined trends.

The safety car in Monaco? It has been necessitated in ten of the last 12 races at the principality.  Singapore? There has been a Safety Car deployed in all eight F1 races staged on their street circuit.

Similarly, pole-setters going on to win the race in Barcelona? They have a 10 from 12 record. Total finishers in the Chinese Grand Prix? Only once in the last seven years has more than three cars failed to finish.

With that said, here’s my list of the top tips based on real experience

  1. What is labelled as live coverage of F1 by all broadcasters is not live. It is always subject to a time lag normally ranging between 4sec and 8sec. Some broadcasters deliver their pictures to their viewers with an even greater delay. Do not bet in-running on the likes of betting exchange Betfair using your eyes as reference. Always log into formula1.com to be assisted by their ‘live timing’ section. This will give you a massive advantage.
  2. The eyes believe themselves; the ears other people… Commentator’s words translate into market movement. During the 2012 Spanish GP commentator Martin Brundle was asked which of the leading two cars he would like to be driving (or believed would win). e replied ‘Alonso’. As the words came from his mouth, the Spanish driver’s odds immediately tumbled from 6/4 into 1/2. He remained in second with victory never looking likely.
  3. Defined second drivers rarely outperform their teammates. Additionally, once the halfway point of the season is reached, teams with a definitive chance of winning a title employ team orders. Do not trust qualifying form to be repeated in race situations as a definite wing man under-orders effect can be brought into play.
  4. Traditionally, qualifying is the best indicator to the race results with pole-setters enjoying an enormous advantage. However, current regulations limit the amount of fuel cars can use in the race (100 kilos). There are no restrictions on fuel usage during qualifying however. A car set-up to qualify on pole is probably not set-up to complete a race distance within fuel consumption parameters (i.e a 66-lap race requires a set-up of 1.5 litres max of fuel per-lap). Put simply, qualifying form alone is not a definitive barometer of overall race pace as cars behave very differently depending on the weight they carry at all stages of a race.
  5. Trading Time: An F1 GP is a three-day event. There are two practice sessions on a Friday, a further practice session on a Saturday morning, a qualifying session on a Saturday afternoon and then finally, the race itself on a Sunday. Markets can and do fluctuate wildly from the moment practice starts right up until the race ends. With all major firms pricing up F1 and the margins very fair, F1 really is one of the best betting mediums.
  6. Long range weather forecast: Spa, Belgium is notorious for its likelihood of rain. Monaco can be glorious for qualifying and produce rain for the race. Wet conditions, just like a change in going, can make the formbook redundant. This sentiment rings true with temperatures and humidity, too. Keep a very watchful eye on the weather forecast before placing any race bets.