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Betting on Formula One

The Formula 1 season was launched in 1950 and quickly rose to become one of the most popular and internationally recognised sports competitions in the world. The rise to fame was very rapid, investors spending millions of pounds on organisation, equipment, staff and even marketing. It was a massive deal in its day but the early versions of the F1 season pale in comparison to the modern version, the one we know and love today.

F1 was originally seen as a sport for the rich and famous, the playboys and glamour girls who couldn’t get enough speed and flashiness in their lives. That’s no longer the case and although it does cost a pretty penny to visit a racetrack and take in a Grand Prix, the games see people from all walks of life rub shoulders in mutual appreciation of both the history of Formula 1 and where the sport is heading in future.

Modern cars may be very different from the ones pushed through laps back in the ’50s, but the idea is the same. Drivers must be brave, bold and fearless. Champions must have quick reactions and be willing and able to find space to pass a rival when it looks like there isn’t any. They must hold their nerve and apply the foot brake only at the last split second to avoid veering off the road, and even then, it’s just a brief tab before applying more acceleration. Modern cars are filled with technology and gadgets, but the drivers haven’t changed too much over the years. A sport that favours the bold, they must also have a special character that sets them apart from the crowd.

Formula One cars are recognised as the quickest road racing cars on the planet. They can corner at speed, accelerate up to 235 miles per hour and have enough aerodynamic downforce to ensure they handle like a dream. Something that is so fast and so fierce, but when it’s tamed by the right kind of driver, it really is a thing of immense beauty. No wonder people flock from all over the world to see these animals in action. This speed also makes a punt on the outcome exciting and F1 betting is popular at every major bookmaker.

Season – a Hectic F1 Championship Schedule

The modern Formula One season sees teams travel across Europe and further afield to showcase their talents in the pursuit of championship points. There is the drivers’ championship which sees 20 pilots go head-to-head over the course of a campaign. Points are allocated for how well a driver does in a Grand Prix and these points are added to the overall leader board. Whoever has most points on the board at the conclusion of the final race is crowned F1 champion of the world and join an exclusive list which includes some of the most recognised names and faces in the sport.

As well as the drivers’ championship there’s also the constructors’ championship which pits the different teams against each other. There were 10 teams in the 2018 season, each boasting two drivers. When a driver collects points it’s also added to the constructor or team, and that boosts their standing in the constructors’ championship league table. As with the drivers’ championship, the leader board is updated at the end of each race – known as a Grand Prix in the business – and whichever team has most points following the final fixture are announced as constructors’ champion for that year. Both league tables are thrilling for most of the campaign, with a fair share of drama thrown in for good measure.

Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of the points. 25 F1 points per race are given to the winner, 18 to the runner up and 15 to the man standing on the third step on the podium. Then we have a dozen points for fourth, 10 points for fifth, eight points for sixth, six points for seventh, four points given to the driver finishing eighth, two to the man in ninth and a single point is dropped into the tally of the 10th place finisher. A bonus point goes to the driver with the fastest lap of the Grand Prix. As you can see, there’s all to play for from the first race through to the final leg of the season.

Some of the Grand Prix’s you can expect to see over the course of a season are the Australian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix in March, Chinese Grand Prix and Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, Spanish Grand Prix and Monaco Grand Prix in May, Canadian Grand Prix, French Grand Prix and Austrian Grand Prix in June, British Grand Prix and German Grand Prix in July, Hungarian Grand Prix in August, Belgian Grand Prix, Italian Grand Prix, Singapore Grand Prix and Russian Grand Prix in September, Japanese Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix in October, United States Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix in November and the season comes to a thrilling finish with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in early December. F1 betting is available on each and every race, from qualifying through to the final lap.

Champions – Famous Names and Faces

As mentioned earlier, any driver lucky enough to join the honours roll of Formula One champions is added to an exclusive list that boasts some of the most famous names and faces in any sport. The kind of athletes who would be recognised in any part of the world and the names that bring back fond memories for fans.

Britain ranked as the most successful nation ever to have raced in F1 and the UK are responsible for the likes of Jackie Stewart, who won three titles during his career, Nigel Mansell with his one honour and Damon Hill, another Brit who achieved greatness once. Each man is known in British sport, but they can’t get near one of the greatest sportsmen the island has ever produced in Lewis Hamilton, and that includes all sports. He may not have the humour of Stewart or the brashness of Mansell, who was a real love him or hate him character, but you really can’t argue with his results.

Hamilton won his first drivers’ championship back in 2008 and continued picking up medals over the next decade and beyond. The Mercedes driver has been a victim of his own success in recent times, similar to when the Klitschko brothers dominated the heavyweight boxing scene. He is so good and has owned the sport over the last few years critics have started to call F1 boring, something the founding members could never have imagined. It may not be as competitive as we’d like due to just how good Hamilton is, but it’s not boring by anyone’s standards.

The greatest Formula One driver that ever lived was, of course, German Michael Schumacher who retired with no less than seven drivers’ championships under his helmet. He gained his first in 1994 and really launched himself onto the scene from there. In the years that followed Michael Schumacher was involved in some well-publicised rivalries with other drivers, especially those from England, but he always seemed to come out on top. He was crowned world champion in 1995 for two-in-a-row and then had to wait to 2000 before he was back on the top step. That return to form kick-started another period of dominance and he won in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Other names worth a mention that have won world titles are Alain Prost of France, Sebastian Vettel from Germany, Nelson Piquet of Brazil, countryman Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

F1 Betting Explained

Now we know the history of the Formula One, where it has come from, where it’s going and the famous names that have campaigned over the years, it’s now time to look at the most important part of the sport for punters – the F1 betting. There’s not much more exciting for a sports fan than watching a Grand Prix in full flight except, of course, landing a profit on the outcome thanks to your F1 betting predictions. There’s plenty to bet on with F1, from predicting the winner of the drivers’ championship and which team will end on top of the constructors’ championship to calling the winner of a Grand Prix. You don’t actually have to predict the champions and race winners, thanks to the coverage given by bookmakers. You can bet on a top-five finish, podium finish, fastest lap, match bets and to finish the race or not.

We’ll look beyond the championship winners’ market as we have already covered that in detail and believe it has been explained as much as it needs to. Each driver is awarded points for how well they do in a Grand Prix and that is added to their overall score for the season. The driver and constructor with most points after the final race is announced as champion. If you had your cash down on the correct driver or team, you’re bet will be paid out as a winner. What is worth adding, however, is that these markets remain live while the competition is in progress. You can get involved at any stage of the season, although F1 odds will reduce the better a driver is doing.

There’s plenty more to get excited about in the Grand Prix F1 betting market and we guide you through the best of what’s on offer in every race and how you can use these markets to your advantage.

Race Winner and Each-Way

This is the most popular of bets to place on the Grand Prix, but it is also the simplest. Before a race starts you will see all competitors listed with a price attached. The quotes reflect how likely traders think it is each man will win the race. Pick a driver to finish first in the Grand Prix and if they do as expected you’ll be paid out a profit, depending on the F1 price and level of stake.

You can also bet each-way and the standard place terms are 1/3 the odds 1-2. You must double your stake here, so a £10 bet on Lewis Hamilton will cost you £20. The reason for that is £10 of your stake goes on him to win the race at the odds given, the other £10 goes on him to place first or second in the race at 1/3 of the odds given.

If Hamilton wins the Grand Prix in question you will be paid out twice, as he has both won the race and finished in the top two, £10 at the odds and £10 at a third of the odds. If he only places, however, you will lose your £10 win part of the bet and get the proceeds from £10 on a 1/3 of the odds. That won’t amount to much if used with Lewis Hamilton as he’s often short-priced favourite to win a race, but each-way F1 betting does have its uses. It can come in handy if backing a big priced outsider as you have half of your stake on him to win with a safety net of the other half on him to come second, meaning you’ll get some of your cashback. 1/3 the odds an even-money favourite isn’t really worth it but a 1/3 the odds a 33/1 underdog certainly is.

Podium Finish

A podium finish gives a clue in the name – you are having your cash down on a driver to end the race in the podium places, in other words, you are backing them to end first, second or third. With a podium finish bet it doesn’t really matter where they come, you won’t get more money if your selection comes first rather than third.

Punters are quoted one price for the podium finish and if your bet does end in the top three you will be paid out for a profit. This has shorter F1 betting odds than the race winner market as you have three ways to win, rather than just the one, but it does give you a better chance of getting an outsider in.

There’s little to be had backing a favourite for a podium finish as the odds will be very small, but a big price outsider you expect to go close could be worthwhile. If they don’t win the race you still have another two chances to land a return. This bet is very popular with punters who fancy a driver but aren’t quite sure if he is good enough to win the race.

Match Bets

Driver v driver match bets are an exciting way to wager your cash on the Formula One and the best thing about them is your pick doesn’t have to win the race for your bet to come good. Theoretically, your pick could end last of the finishers and you’d still bag a return. Here’s how it works.

Traders pick out two drivers who are closely matched in ability and recent form. They then challenge you to predict which one will have the better Grand Prix. For example, this could be Valterri Bottas v Charles Leclerc at the 2019 British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton won the race that year but that had no bearing on the match bet. Bottas finished second with Leclerc in third. If you picked Bottas in match bet, you would’ve been paid a profit as his result was better than that of his rival.

The two drivers don’t have to finish in the major places either. In fact, it’s just as exciting having your say on a match bet involving two men likely to end down the pecking order. One might not finish even. You could even land a profit with second last beating last. Place a few of these and you’ll have an interest way beyond the race leaders.

Fastest Lap

This is one for lovers of speed and it’s also a bet that will keep you glued to the live TV action on Sky Sports or the BBC right up until the last car crosses the finish line. When betting on the fastest lap market you are predicting which driver will get around one circuit of the course in the quickest time of the day.

The time of each lap is recorded for each driver and these are compared in real-time, as you watch the race unfold. The great thing about this bet is the fastest lap could come at any point of the Grand Prix, and from any driver. It could be the leader on the first lap as he aims to pull away from the competition, although that’s unlikely as they make a standing start on lap one. It could come from a driver in third or fourth battling for position near the end, or there’s no reason why the backmarker couldn’t record the fastest lap.

The prices are attractive, and the bet will keep you in the loop until the last car has passed the finish line. When placing this type of bet it’s wise to pay attention to what went on in qualifying and practice. The results there will show you each driver’s lap times, who has taken to the course and which man is confident of a big Grand Prix.

Pole Position

This is a bet that can be placed and will be settled long before the Grand Prix even starts and it’s one that will appeal to avid fans of F1 racing who enjoy keeping an eye on practice and qualifying. Here you are staking your money on which driver will start first on the grid, in pole position. From there it doesn’t matter how they fare in the Grand Prix. They could lead from line to line or they could crash out at the first corner, it’s no longer your concern.

All you’re needing your selection to do is win the qualifying stage of the race which will ensure he starts the Grand Prix in pole position. You can get an idea of who to back from how the drivers performed in practice as well as the results from the previous year. Perhaps a certain constructor dominated the race 12 months ago or a driver had particular joy at a racetrack.

If he picks up where he left off and puts in a solid few laps in qualifying, he will rank top and start the race in pole position, winning you a profit in the process. A great way to bet on F1 while avoiding the drama of the Grand Prix. In qualifying there are no other cars to worry about, so your pick is getting a clean run around the track. Pick a consistent driver in a fast car who has performed well at a certain venue in the past and you won’t go far wrong with this market.

Safety Car

There are a number of specials offered on F1 racing these days and bookmakers appear to offer more coverage each and every season. Visit the Formula One tab of your favourite online F1 betting firm, click the upcoming Grand Prix and you’ll see for yourself.

One of the more popular specials available concerns the safety car. Will we see it used? You can bet on yes or no. The safety car is sent out to slow down the action in the face of any danger to drivers, such as bad weather or a multi-car crash. It doesn’t matter why the safety car is used if it appears on the track your bet’s a winner.

This is often seen as an interesting side bet by punters and it’s another that is live until the F1 cars pass the finish line. It could come in at any stage, earlier in the race following a pile-up or later on as the rain starts to fall. Give it a try as an addition to your Grand Prix bets. It’s an exciting alternative.


Some of the other specials markets available that could help ramp up your interest in the Grand Prix are the first driver to retire. Here you should pick an F1 pilot you believe will suffer a woeful race and will be forced to pull out before his rivals. This could happen at any stage and for any reason. If you are confident a driver is going to win the GP you could call the winning margin, predicting how many seconds he’ll finish ahead of the runner-up. The winning nationality market is just that, a bet that allows you to throw a blanket over a few drivers and give yourself a better chance of winning. Will a British driver win the race, a German or another nationality? You decide.

How many drivers will finish the race? Will it be a full list, or will we lose some along the way, as so often is the case? You can predict how many finishers there will be and the less you go for the better the price will be offered by bookmakers. Another good side bet is to finish the race or not market. Pick a driver and click yes or no on him finishing the race.

The better the driver the less of a price you’ll get on him completing the laps, but it’s a great way to bet if you believe one of the front runners will have problems. It doesn’t matter why they fail to finish, as long as they don’t cross the line, your bets a winner. It works both ways too. Pick an outsider to finish the race at a decent price and it doesn’t matter where they end, first, last or somewhere in between. As long as they are able to complete the race, you’ll see a profit deposited into your account.


There are more ways to bet on F1 and the Grand Prix than you imagine, and many give you a better chance of winning. Have a look through the options and see what suits your approach best. Don’t just go for the market and bet you’ve always done, especially if it hasn’t proven profitable in the past. Try something new and there’s every chance it could change the way you bet on the sport. F1 can’t be accused of being boring by anyone with a winning bet slip in their account.

From the first lap of practice until the final car passes the finish line in the Grand Prix there’s a way to bet on the results. You can have your say well before the start of the event, with prices for the next Grand Prix often available following the finish of the previous race, or you can get involved at any stage of the contest, thanks to in-play F1 betting. The way we watch Formula One is changing, as is the way we bet on it. Get your bets on at your local betting office, at home using your desktop computer or even when out and about via a mobile F1 betting app. The latter puts you in charge and works fantastically well with in-play betting as it allows you to watch the race and bet at any stage.