As the 2020 Formula One season fast approaches, with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15, here are some early talking points and F1 betting tips to consider. Here at TonyBet Formula 1 is a priority and here is the best tips for you to gamble on the king of motorsports.
Is there any end to Mercedes’ domination?
Last season proved another of utter domination from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton as the team collected a sixth successive constructors’ title and the driver his fifth title in six years. Mercedes held a 235-point advantage over the nearest challengers Ferrari by the end of the season in Abu Dhabi having won 15 of 21 races (Hamilton with 11, Valtteri Bottas with 4).
Their successful season was built on a flying start to the year after claiming maximum points from the first five races, and from there Hamilton and Bottas were near-constant fixtures on the podium.
It is difficult to not envision more of the same in 2020 with very few rule and technical changes in places ahead of a radical overhaul ahead of 2021. As such, the bookies have Hamilton as an odds-on favourite at 11/20 to retain the drivers’ title and Mercedes expected to keep hold of the constructors’ title at 2/5.
While this is good news for Mercedes and Hamilton – should the pre-season odds of F1 betting live up to expectations – it means very little to punters hoping to make some money from the outright markets in the two title races.
F1 Betting: how will the ‘let them race’ approach affect Ferrari?
Now, this may be the area in which Formula One betting fans might be able to profit in the betting markets this season. Before the 2019 campaign, Ferrari made it clear that Sebastian Vettel would be favored in any 50/50 situation involving teammate Charles Leclerc. It was in line with Ferrari’s traditional lead-driver strategy.
However, after Leclerc claimed more wins, points, and podiums than Vettel last year, no such strategy will be in place for 2020. “It’s developed,” said Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto. “Charles has got a year’s experience with us. They will be on the same level, they can both fight to be ahead. So let them race.”
Initial attempts at the “let them race” approach backfired spectacularly last year when Leclerc and Vettel took each other out in Brazil but Leclerc insists “we both learned the lesson” from the episode in Sao Paulo.
Ferrari’s switch from a hierarchical strategy to one based on driver performance has resulted in Leclerc being favored to once again win his head-to-head with Vettel over the course of the season. The Monégasque racer is priced at 1/2 to accumulate more points than Vettel in 2020, but we think the real value is backing Vettel in this duel at 7/5.
Granted, Leclerc will be another year older and wiser, and at the age of 22, he is sure to continue improving as a driver, particularly now he has familiarized himself in his Ferrari surroundings.
Yet, the fact remains that Vettel is a four-time world champion and one of the most experienced and decorated drivers on the gird. The 32-year-old German has plenty to prove this season and will be determined to bounce back from last year’s disappointments. Many of Vettel’s setbacks in 2019 were of his own making and if he can cut out the silly errors, then he can end 2020 as Ferrari’s leading point-scorer.
How realistic is a title challenge from Max Verstappen in the F1 betting odds?
Amid Mercedes’ domination and talk of a sustained Ferrari challenge this season, there is one driver who has the skills and the car to make things really interesting in 2020. Max Verstappen is behind only Lewis Hamilton in terms of talent and skill on the TonyBet F1 betting grid and the precocious Dutchman has already been talking up his title chances.
“This is the right place,” said Verstappen, who recently committed his future to Red Bull with a new four-year contract. “I see the motivation and hunger to fight for victories and a championship. Looking at this year we want to mount a challenge to Mercedes and I think we can do that.”
It was Verstappen who last year mounted the biggest challenge to Mercedes, finishing third in the drivers’ standings after three wins and nine podiums, taking 18 more points than fourth-placed Leclerc and 38 more points than Sebastian Vettel in fifth.
Considering the minimal changes to F1’s technical rulebook and Red Bull’s strong end to the 2019 season, Verstappen could once again by Mercedes’ most serious challenger. The bookies have priced Verstappen as fourth-favorite for the drivers’ title at 6/1, but punters could be more tempted by certain bookmakers offering odds of 2/1 for Verstappen to finish the leader of the pack behind Hamilton.
With Ferrari – and to a lesser extent Mercedes – both approaching the season with a two-driver strategy, Verstappen is the undisputed lead driver at Red Bull, so the team and his teammate Alexander Albon will be positioned to assist Verstappen whenever possible. This should result in a strong season for Verstappen and Red Bull, so make sure to stay tuned on the TonyBet F1 Betting tips to cover the Dutch pilot career.
Guest Contributor: Jonathan Turner