Hi, everyone, I’m Jesse Weller, and starting today I’ll be providing Formula 1 bets here at Guru Elite!
I’m assuming most of you are here in the US, so it’s likely you’re not that familiar with Formula 1. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a quick breakdown that, I hope, accomplishes 4 things:
- Introduces you to the sport, at least in a fundamental way.
- Conveys a tiny bit of my knowledge in order to demonstrate my competence in the subject and my worthiness of becoming someone you trust with a percentage of your bankroll.
- Inspires even a little bit of interest in a sport I love so much and think deserves a much larger fanbase in the US.
- Gets you to watch F1: Drive to Survive on Netflix, because if I don’t hook you, it will:
So, hopefully this article gets your motor running (hahahahahaha I can’t believe I just made that joke; I’m the worst.) for some F1 betting, because it’s still VERY early in the season, the F1 market at US-available sportsbooks is insanely soft, and the 42.1% ROI I have through the first 2 races may not be sustainable (we’re looking for 5-10% over the season), but it certainly isn’t a fluke!
- 10 teams (in 2019) (called ”Constructors”)
- 2 cars/team (and, therefore, 2 drivers/team)
- 21 races (in 2019) (March-December)
- Roughly one every two weeks, with a four-week “Summer Break” in August.
- 2 Championships being contested at the same time: The “Drivers” and the “Constructors”.
- Drivers: Each guy on his own, collecting points. Most points at the end of the season, wins.
- Constructors: Each team’s drivers’ points added together. Most points at the end of the season, wins.
- Finishing 1st-10th in a race earns you points:
- 25 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 1
- The driver who sets the fastest lap of each race gets 1 additional point, provided he finishes in the top 10.
Differences with NASCAR
If you’re still reading this you probably like racing, which means you’re probably at least a little familiar with NASCAR. So, I thought the best way to introduce you to Formula 1 might be by comparing the two.
Every car is, basically, identical.
Same engine specs, same bodies, same strict regulations governing just about every detail of the car.
Only a few settings adjustable to the driver’s preference.
Open-Wheel, Single-Seat Cars
Each team’s car is different. The sport is, first and foremost, about the teams competing against each other.
A few manufacturers supply the power units for the entire grid (currently Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, & Honda), but even each of those are very different from each other.
Each team’s chassis is their own responsibility, and only a handful of specs are controlled by the rules. This is where the teams try to differentiate themselves, spending $100,000,000-$400,000,000/year on R&D.
Somewhere between 3 and, I don’t know…16 hours?
Who knows? 400 miles? 500 miles? 301 miles?
2-hour time limit, with most taking ~90min.
Every race (except Monaco) is the same distance: “The fewest number of laps required to reach 305km” (189.518mi) (Monaco is 260km bc 305km wouldn’t finish w/i the 2-hour limit).
Done to make sure the races have a nearly-uniform duration, which is better for viewers at the track and watching on TV.
Grid Start (everyone at a standstill)
1. 5 red lights turn on, one at a time.
2. Once they’re all on, they stay on for 4-7s (randomized).
3. They all go out.
I know, it’s a different animal: There are fewer people on the crew, NASCAR wheels have more lugnuts, they only do one side at a time, etc., etc.
But c’mon, how cool is that?–>
Yes, you read that correctly. 2.5 sec. It’s awesome:
5.8L V8 Engines
Nothing fancy here, just a big hunk of metal.
About ½ of a horsepower per kilogram of car weight.
1.6L V6 Turbo-Hybrid “Power Units”
Yup, HYBRIDS. The V6 does most of the heavy lifting, but there are multiple electric motors involved that add about 160hp to the 600-700 it puts out.
The electric motors are powered by two generators, which in turn are powered by the kinetic energy given off when the car brakes and by the heat given off by the car’s exhaust, respectively. Essentially, the car is both powering and recharging itself throughout each lap, resulting in a constant boost of power on top of what the V6 is giving off.
About 1 horsepower per kilogram of car weight (2x as powerful as a NASCAR car).
You ever driven a car? It’s that. It feels like that. Not a big deal.
Let’s go 200mph basically laying on the pavement.
The video starts at the good part, but you can rewind to see the driving position and even the insane process of getting into the car.
Someone in Your Way?
Move them the fuck OUT of the way.
NASCAR Cars = Tanks
Too bad. Figure out how to get past them. Out-think them. Out-maneuver them. Don’t brake until 20 yards before that corner even though you’re going 150 mph (not an exaggeration).
F1 Cars = Spaceships
“I felt a raindrop!”
“EVERYBODY STOP! Let’s wait until ALL of the raindrops are gone, they can’t hurt us then.”
“Looks like it’s going to rain all day!”
“OH MY GOD EVERYBODY FREEZE! Maybe it’ll be pretty out tomorrow!? We’ll try then. Oh, 75,000 people are here now? Fuck ‘em.”
“Yeah? How hard? Oh, really hard? Okay……what’s your point?…”
“I literally cannot see 20 feet in front of me.”
“I mean, this IS a little ridiculous. Let’s stop for a few minutes.”
150,000 people at the track: “BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”
Lewis Hamilton: “I don’t know why we’re stopping, this is normal…”
A heavyweight boxing slugfest.
A welterweight MMA fight between two well-rounded, world class fighters.
I don’t want you to think I’m trying to insult NASCAR, I truly am not. It’s a great series with great history and tradition and I totally understand someone being a fan. Driving a tank sounds awesome, and who doesn’t like seeing a heavyweight boxing slugfest? I know I oversimplified and undersold a lot of the stuff in the NASCAR column above: It’s just a different kind of series and it presents its own challenges to the drivers and teams. Obviously, though, I’m not that into it and, if I may express an opinion: There really aren’t many metrics by which NASCAR is better than Formula 1.
F1 is faster, louder, funnier, more exotic, more dangerous, has more fans and better-attended races, has better personalities, requires way more talent, AND……and get ready for this one……requires turning in BOTH directions.
lol I know that last one is the dumbest and oldest joke on NASCAR in existence, and I think it’s lazy and unfair to say NASCAR drivers are just “going in circles”, but if we really think about it: Isn’t it kind of stupid?
Formula 1 is just……cooler.
Things to Know About F1
- The “Formula” part of “Formula 1” refers to the set of rules governing the sport. “The Formula” changes every year, usually in minor ways.
- Every 7-10 years, though, F1’s board, its member teams, and the FIA (auto racing’s governing body) negotiate a MAJOR change to the sport (kind of like a Collective Bargaining Agreement), effectively resetting the playing field for the next generation.
- These agreements usually involve GIANT changes to the rules, like adding (or outlawing) turbo or superchargers, legalizing (or criminalizing) anti-lock brakes or traction control, drastically changing the minimum/maximum dimensions for wings, sideboards, intakes, etc., or even changing what info teams can communicate to their drivers during a race.
- This, effectively, creates an entirely new sport every decade or so. Teams, engine manufacturers, and drivers who were dominant in one generation could be irrelevant the next (see Sebastian Vettel/Red Bull in the 2006-2013 “V8 Era” compared to the 2014-present “V6-Hybrid Era”).
- Money is EVERYTHING.
- The V6-hybrid era has been all about the “have”s and the “have-not”s.
- Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are the “have”s. They have unlimited money and, therefore, unlimited resources and technologies to make their engines and chassis effectively bulletproof. The “hybrid” part of the current power units is so complex that, without $100,000,000/year to spend on R&D, you really have no chance to compete, and those three companies are the only ones who can afford it. This has created a division between those teams (the “big 3”) and the rest of the field.
- When you watch a race in 2019, you are really watching 2 races: The race amongst the Mercs, Ferraris, and Red Bulls, and the race amongst the other 7 teams on the grid. No one outside of the big 3 has won a race since Round 1 of 2013, when Kimi Raikkonen won in a Lotus.
- Since then there have been 102 races: Mercedes has won 76, Ferrari 14, and Red Bull 12. It’s getting old. I cannot wait for 2021 and our next major Formula change.
- This is important because F1’s revenue is split amongst the teams at the end of the season based on how many points each team accumulated.
- Obviously the big 3 grab most of the points (about 75% of them), so that means the rest of the field is left in a desperate, bloody, win-at-all-costs slugfest to finish as what we’ve begun calling “the best of the rest”.
- If you ask me, watching the mid-field teams battle it out has been the highlight of the turbo-hybrid era and now, in 2019, it is set up to be even bloodier, because teams like Renault, Haas, and McLaren have now had 5 years to get their shit together under these rules and they’re finally starting to catch up to the big 3, while Red Bull has slowly deteriorated and is falling back to join them.
- Mercedes and Ferrari are still the class of the grid, of course, but the gap between them has steadily been closing for 3 seasons now, and every race is poised to be a dogfight.
Why are the above points important to us? Because they have a LOT to do with why our edge on the books is so large. The market drastically underestimates the things above, especially the part about the rules.
Quantifying ANYTHING in F1 other than lap times is almost impossible.Like I said; this sport is, effectively, entirely new every 7-10 years. With only 18-21 races per year, and only a few dozen laps per race, there is no way for us to get a large enough sample size of anything to create “advanced stats” or innovative metrics, much less to actually predictively model anything with confidence.
Because of this, books are left with only previous results and the desires of the public to determine their lines, and the public is stupid. Really stupid. How stupid? Quick illustration:
Lewis Hamilton is a 5-time (and 4-time in the last 5 years) World Champion. You know those 76 wins Mercedes has had in the last 102 races? 51 of them are Lewis’. F1 has been to Bahrain 5 times in that 102-race stretch, and Lewis has won 2 of those 5. Last week, in Bahrain, Lewis was starting 3rd. There have been 14 races in Bahrain EVER, and every single one of them has been won by someone starting 1st-4th.
Lewis opened the week +400 to win, and he closed at +337.
1. Thank you for the $.63 of CLV.
2. Thank you for the winnings.
+400 was a JOKE. +337 was less of a joke, but still hilarious. The public, though, was so in love with the pole-sitting Charles Leclerc they bet him into oblivion (almost to +100 to win, last I saw, which were basically the “true” odds of him just getting to the 1st CORNER of the race in the lead), and left Hamilton (and the +1700 Bottas, who finished 2nd) basically untouched.
I’ll stop here because I could write about racing all day, but I’ll leave you with this: Below are my results from the first 2 races of this season. I include them so you can get a feel for how I approach betting a race, and as an illustration of exactly how inefficient the opening market is.
P.S. If I’ve done ANYTHING to pique your interest in F1, check out the FANTASTIC documentary series that just landed on Netflix a few weeks ago called F1: Drive to Survive. It is, by far, the best behind-the-scenes look at the sport I’ve ever seen, giving you unprecedented access to the drivers and teams throughout all of last season. Even just the trailer gets me fucking PUMPED.