Formula 1/F1 Bets

F1 BetsA sport as widely watched and money-spinning as Formula 1 invariably attracts a large betting community. Bookmakers are always looking to provide a new range of markets and betting opportunities, with a myriad of odds, offers and specials available for every Grand Prix.

The following are some of the main markets on which punters from all over the world bet:

Outright Betting

The Formula 1 season decides the winner of the sport’s World Championships. In the outright betting market, customers have two options. The first is to pick the winner of the Drivers Championship, which tends to attract the most interest as the best racers on the planet vie to become the world champion. While the mantle rarely changes hands with any great speed – Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button are the only drivers not to retain the championship during the 21st Century – there is always fierce competition for the crown.

As well as the Drivers Championship, the Constructors Championship is decided by the points tally accumulated by drivers, as they contribute to their stable’s standings as well as their own. Each of the constructors has two drivers at most, so the constructors with two charges capable of challenging for the title will have the best chance of winning their own title. Mercedes currently dominates the sport, with only Ferrari and Red Bull challenging, so the Drivers Championship provides more competition, and therefore more competitive odds.

Race Winner/Winning Team

From the start of the season in March to the finale at the end of November, there are 21 Grands Prix, with one taking place around once every two weeks. Each Grand Prix contributes to the overall World Championship totals, but the accolade of winning any individual race is precious to every driver. Punters can bet on the individual winner of any given Grand Prix, and while factors such as home advantage do not really apply to Formula 1, certain drivers do have favoured venues. Typically, the driver in the best-designed car will win, though competition between two well-matched drivers in the same team – like Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – often makes it a little more difficult to call.

Customers can also bet on the constructor that will win the Grand Prix. Backing Mercedes to win means that the bet will win if either of their drivers (Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in 2016) finishes first. Betting on the constructor doubles the number of chances to win, but shortens the odds, particularly if one or both drivers racing for the chosen constructor is the favourite to win.

Podium/Top Six/Points Finish

There are more options than just picking the winner. The first option would be to select a driver that will make the podium by finishing in one of the top three spots. Some bookmakers will offer six places, so if a driver finishes in the top six, the punter wins. The third option is to bet on a driver gaining points at a Grand Prix, meaning any driver placing in the top 10 is a winner. The latter two betting options are best for peripheral drivers who will pick up decent odds on winning points.

Fastest Lap

One of the simpler bets on offer, customers wager on the driver who will post the fastest lap during the Grand Prix. Normally the race winner will post the fastest time, but on occasion a driver will record the best lap but not perform over the course of the entire race. A difficult one to call, this market rewards those who study form in practice and qualifying.

First Driver to Retire

Although quite negative in some ways, there is the option to bet on the first driver to retire from the race. Though the best strategy is to put money on drivers who are known for an aggressive or reckless approach, on occasion a freak accident early in the race, a poor decision from a driver expected to know better or an unexpected technical fault means that any driver could be the first victim of chance. This market often rewards guesswork more than skill.

Fastest Qualifier

Before the Grand Prix race itself comes the qualifiers, which determine the order in which the drivers will line up. There is naturally plenty of markets that cover qualifiers, with the most common one being the fastest qualifier. Punters bet on which driver they think will claim pole position by posting the fastest time in qualifying.

Other Formula 1 Bets

There are of course many other betting markets aside from the ones outlined here: Formula 1 offers a number of opportunities to make money at every stage, and with much more niche options than the standard bets such as outright winner or fastest lap there is plenty to choose from. Here are a few more bets and specials which bookmakers will sometimes offer.

Practice Winner

Before even the qualifiers, there is a practice day in which drivers and constructors can get the lay of the land and ensure the cars are geared up for a frenetic weekend. However, given the fiercely competitive nature of the sport, even practice sessions can have ‘winners’.

Punters can bet on the driver they think will post the fastest time in practice, though if a driver is under orders not to overexert themselves or their vehicle, the number of choices diminishes.

Safety Car

The safety car is one of the staples of the sport, coming out to slow down the field when there is debris on the track or a driver requires urgent medical attention. Punters can bet on the somewhat morbid likelihood of the safety car being required at any time during the race.

Winning Margin

If merely betting on the winner is not enough, customers can bet on the margin of victory. As Grands Prix tend to be very tightly contested affairs, a driver is more likely to win by one second than by 10 these days. However, punters can bet on whether it will be close and the margin will be under five seconds, or whether a driver will pull away and take first place with a margin of five seconds or more, with different bookies often giving different margins of victory to choose from.

Double Podium Finish

A market specific to constructors, not drivers, the customer is asked to select a constructor they feel will field two drivers who make the podium. Given Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s, and therefore Mercedes’, iron grip on the Championships in recent times, this market is not currently a particularly competitive one.

Double Points Finish

An option which provides many more possibilities than the double podium finish bet, the double points finish wager asks punters to select a constructor that will post two drivers who collect points at a Grand Prix by finishing in the top 10.

A whole host of constructors will have drivers who are almost dead certs to finish high in the standings, though the real trick to making a profit from this market is choosing a constructor with one dead cert and one with the potential to earn points, such as Toro Rosso or McLaren.


Bookmakers will also offer plenty of specials to keep customers interested. One is the hat-trick option, which entails a driver winning in practice, the qualifiers and the Grand Prix itself. A slightly less cheery option is betting on a particular driver to be caught speeding in the pit lane.

Drivers being classified – completing at least 75% of the race – or unclassified is also often an option, while the total number of finishers can be bet on. For fans of motorised carnage, some bookmakers will offer odds on the number of retirements there will be in the first lap.