The Beginner’s Guide to Betting on Formula 1 

Formula 1 is among the most rip-roaring of all sports: the full-throttle speed and thrills combined with the technical intrigues combine to make it unique among all forms of entertainment.

And down the years the sport has produced its fair share of icons, from James Hunt and Nikki Lauder, to Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. It’s got a worldwide following for a very good reason, but have you ever considered betting on this most intriguing of sports? 

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What does betting on Formula 1 even look like? Well, to be sure you can place bets with all of the top bookmakers – and many other betting sites besides – on the classic outrights markets of the Formula 1 World Championship and the Constructors’ Championship. That is, which driver and which team will claim the crowns at the end of the 22-race season. The season itself runs from March to December and therefore offers a nearly all-year betting experience for those who wish to place wagers on Formula 1. 

Aside from the outrights markets (also sometimes known as ‘futures’), which attract plenty of attention of course, there are any number of additional markets that the sports betting sites offer for bettors. These include pre-race and live event betting options, which we will cover here in turn.

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But it’s definitely worth mentioning at this point that any exploration of betting on Formula 1 should start with gathering as much information about the best betting sites to use as is possible to find. The odds, markets and bonuses offered by bookmakers can vary greatly, so don’t just jump onto the first betting site you find to place your Formula 1 bets.  

So what kind of pre-race bets can you place on Formula 1 outside of the outrights markets? Well, obviously the place to start is the ‘to win’ market: that is, which driver will claim the race victory. With 20 drivers on the starting grid, your odds go from around evens all the way up to 500/1, so you can really back the short or the long odds, unlike in a football match, for example. Other classic Formula 1 bets in the pre-race market include the possibility of a racer being classified and then which team will win the race. With two drivers assigned to each team, that increases your odds of winning compared to simply backing a single driver to win the race. As the race approaches you can also place bets on who will start the race on pole position. 

Another type of bet to mention here are proposition bets on a Formula 1 race. These are popular with some betting sites, and indeed Formula 1 bettors, so it is definitely worth exploring what kind of ‘prop’ bets are available for any given race. A typical example of a prop bet would be whether the safety car will feature in a race.  

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Many of the betting sites will also offer up what are called ‘driver specials’. As the name suggests, these focus in on one particular driver, and the types of bets here can vary from the possibility of that driver winning the Drivers’ Championship, to betting on which team you think the driver will race for the next season. Other options include how many races a driver will win that next upcoming season, or even the possibility of not winning a race. Some bookmakers offer ‘head-to-heads’ too, meaning you can place bets on one particular driver winning more races or Championship points than another, bringing the betting down to the simplicity of a two horse race.  

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A more modern innovation in betting has been the introduction of the ‘in-play’ or ‘live betting’ markets. Essentially, these features give you the chance to bet on a sporting event as it is unfolding. Formula 1 is a perfect candidate for this type of betting as the race is longer in duration than many sporting events, and because there are so many permutations in terms of tactics and outcomes. As well as the changing odds on who will win the race, look out for options such as the ‘fastest lap’ bet. These are great ways to engage with the race as it’s going on.  

Aside from keeping a close eye on the betting sites, what else should you do to increase the possibility of success in your Formula 1 betting? Well, certainly it’s vital to keep abreast of the motor racing news and events. And then there are other important variables in Formula 1 racing such as the weather, which can really change the make-up of a race. There are just so many little factors involved in a Formula 1 race that betting can be a fascinating, and potentially lucrative, experience.