Formula 1, also Formula One and F1, is the highest level of professional auto racing sanctioned by FIA. It has existed since 1950 and these days consists of 10 teams known as constructors each fielding 2 drivers who compete over a 19 race season. Constructors include the biggest names in automotive technology Ferrari and Mercedes. The top-paid driver is Lewis Hamilton. He has a USD $32 million annual base salary, worth up to USD $45 million annually with bonuses, and earns millions more from endorsements. This should give an idea of just how much of a big money competitive sport this is.
F1 is no doubt the most followed motorsport in the world. North America, Europe and Asia each host multiple races. In Asia, there are four. China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore each host one annually. There is also an India team Sahara Force India F1 and India previously was an F1 host too. Korea is another former host. Thailand which hasn’t hosted any F1 races just yet, has a recently completed circuit in Buriram and hopes to host in a coming season. Due to vast exposure, there are of course many people living in Asia looking to engage in F1 betting.
Despite the popularity, F1 betting options are not great at all Asian bookies. Some of the most popular bookies do not have odds at all, while others only post them just before the race starts. Thankfully there are a few with good coverage as well as global bookmakers that players from our continent can use. That’s why this article covers the best bookies for F1 betting, like 188Bet.
During the offseason and right to the final race, all bookies have odds on World Drivers’ Championship and World Constructors’ Championship. These are about the season long point races. There are currently 10 teams (constructors) each with 2 starting drivers. Their drivers can be replaced during the season but this is uncommon. So most seasons have 20 drivers competing.
In each race points are awarded to the top 10 finishers. 25 for 1st, 18 for second, then 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 for the next highest finishers. At the end of the season the driver with the most points is crowned World Drivers’ Champion. The team with the most points is crowed World Constructors’ Champion. These markets are two of the ways to make Formula One bets.
The more common way to bet F1 is on specific races. For this there are far more ways to bet than just which driver wins the race. I cover these in this article, but first note all races on the season follow the same format as being 3-day events. Friday is always practice, Saturday is final practice and qualifying, and Sunday is the race. For those looking for the best value the time to bet is before qualifying takes place. At the sites I listed earlier there are several options for this.
Some of my favourite betting sites offer odds on which driver will have the fastest Practice 3. This is unique as with most sites betting doesn’t start until qualifying at the earliest. These are also good bookmakers for F1 betting overall. As our focus is Asia, I comment on these sites some more.
These two sites with betting on fastest Practice 3 are global online bookmakers highly legitimate and licensed in the UK. The keyword here is global, they are not specifically known as being Asian bookies. The difference is at sites like Dafabet (not very good for F1) and 188Bet (decent for F1) players from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia can find local deposit options. Thus those are called Asian bookies. At the global bookmakers players from these countries need to use other methods such as EntroPay or NETELLER. The reason I specify this is because betting on practice and qualifying is where these global bookmakers offer the best value.
After betting on practice, as we turn to qualifying and the race, using a combination of both global bookmakers and Asian bookies sites is ideal. 188bet (Asia) is one just a few sites that offers odds on which driver will win the pole. At the global sites you can bet which driver will have the fastest lap during qualifying, and also on qualifying winning margin. The latter is a 3-way market with the options being under 0.15 sec, 0.15 to 0.25 sec, and over 0.25 sec.
The options for betting the actual race are many. All of the sites I listed earlier offer betting on race winner, podium finish, winning constructor, fastest lap and a yes only market on if both drivers from each specific team will finish in the points. At the Global sites it is possible to bet on top 6 finish as well as points finish (top 10). From here there are a variety of special props available for betting.
On the Asian side 188Bet also offers betting on hat-Trick (Pole, Winner, Fastest lap), yes or no on safety car during the race, winning margin (0-5.99 seconds, 6-10.99 seconds, over 11 seconds), points finish for both cars (odds given for each team), first team to retire, and highest scoring team. On the global side, some betting sites also offer grid position of the winner (Pole, 2nd, 3 or 4, 5-7, 8-13, other), first constructor to retire, first driver to retire, and winning margin (u5, 5-10, o10 seconds).
As you can see there are lot of ways to bet an F1 race, and this article doesn’t even cover them all. Often just before the race you can find match up props too. This is which of two drivers will have a higher finish. You can also bet if specific drivers will retire, over/under on number of classified drivers and more. For the purpose of this article I conclude with strategy for betting markets already covered.
The bulk of the strategy I use for F1 betting involves studying historical results as well as following recent news leading up to a race. Those who can research in English language will have the biggest advantage. For this Wikipedia is an awesome resource for the historical results aspect. Perhaps the best way to start is with their article on a popular driver such as Lewis Hamilton. On that page scroll down to the section “Complete Formula One Results”. In the table there is a link to a full report on every single race he’s competed in (which is going to be all F1 races since 2007).
The race specific pages from Wikipedia can be used for building a database. In the right corner of each page the length of the circuit is listed. When building a database start with the most recent race at the circuit and work backwards. Stop when noticing a circuit length that differs as this means it has been modified and old results on past circuits have little value.
There are many things that can be added to the database but the biggest thing we are looking for is who finished in what place and where they started on the grid. We also need to actually scan the race reports. This is so we can add an asterisk to any races with anomalies such as retirement due to mechanical failure and collisions to someone high on the starting grid. Such occurrences are random and can make the historical data less valuable. We should discount those races in looking at the results.
What we need to keep in mind when looking at historical results is that starting position is the biggest factor in F1 racing odds. Though FIA has been encouraging track modifications and making rule changes designed to change this, most races are still won by those starting first or second on the grid. The driver starting first called the pole has a huge advantage. The first step in handicapping a race is to figure out just how much of an advantage the pole has in the particular race we’re betting.
To give you a small cheat Circuit de Monaco (Grand Prix of Monaco), Circuit de Catalunya (Spanish Grand Prix), and The Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi Grand Prix) are three circuits where overtaking is very difficult. For these we need very big odds to bet a driver not on the pole. Spa-Francorchamps, Interlagos (Belgian Grand Prix), Sepang International Circuit (Malaysian Grand Prix), Circuit Île Notre-Dame/Gilles Villeneuve and Circuit of the Americas (United States Grand Prix) offer the most opportunities for overtaking. The remainder fall in the middle.
Don’t simply use my cheat sheet above. Historical results are a key to handicapping F1 races. You want to have access to full history for making bets.
As for following the news, F1 is a sport where fans can gain an edge betting. This is simply knowing what is happening with each constructor and driver. Those experienced with sports betting might find this to be square jargon but it is truly not. Betting race winner, sure it is tough to find value. But when you look down to betting points finish (top 10), top 6 and in some cases podium (top 3) the market is far from efficient.
How to go about handicapping from here is to know your database of historical results are clues. Does this race have a lot of movement in the back of the pack historically or not? If it does, next take a look for drivers that are odds 2.00 (+200) to 3.50 (+350) for various markets such as top finish 6, and points finish (top 10). Look to see if these drivers had success finishing higher than their starting grid position in past races at the same circuit. If they have, it now becomes time for the most important part which is doing more legit research. Google search the name of the driver you are betting with the year and the name of the race. Read comments. Then repeat the search backing it up every year. There is a ton of commentary where you can get an idea if the results were flukes or had reasons. You’ll find comments about circuits meeting their style as well as various specifics of their strategy. If you see this, plus have the data to support this is a good bet, you now have what you were looking for.
In conclusion, I do need to warn to do the full research. The current year information is very important. There are development rule changes every season. Some drivers are no longer driving cars capable of winning. But can a P12 finish top 10. If your research supports he can you are still fine, finishing 10th takes less effort than winning. Just don’t get carried away. But do know sincerely this is a sport you can make money at by doing the research. A lot of those markets are hardly efficient. Those studying and betting props can make good money with Formula 1 betting.