Formula 1: Against The Odds

Early Moves

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Ladbrokes were the first out this morning with their prices for the Australian Grand Prix win market albeit with a rather ungenerous 120% book. Unsurprisingly the two Ferrari’s head the market, with Massa – the man who has been making all of the winter headlines – favourite at 9/4.

When I say unsurprising, perhaps that is not strictly true, as this is the first time that bookmakers have acknowledged the media’s assertion that the Brazilian currently holds the upper hand within the team. Most bookmakers still have Massa as third favourite to take the Driver’s Championship with his team mate in pole position. Nowhere is this difference more marked than at Extrabet where they go Kimi 5/4 and Massa 3/1.

Personally, I am also of the opinion that Massa will outshine Raikkonen early on it the season and similarly that Ferrari will hold an advantage over the opposition.

Not only does Massa appear to have carried the momentum of last season through the winter – consistently topping the timesheets at the final major test at Bahrain; but Kimi is having to come to terms with a new team, a new philosophy and crucially new tyres.

Big-hitters such as Ecclestone and Montezemelo have come out and voiced support for the Brazilian. Whilst with rumours persisting of a behind-the-scenes role for Michael Schumacher, it would be no surprise to find out that Massa has been able to cherry-pick some of the Ferrari resources that most had earmarked for Raikkonen as he put pen to paper on his big money deal.

So is Felipe Massa a good bet for the title at as big as 7/2 in places? Not necessarily.

Firstly, it is always dangerous to read too much in to winter testing. It will come as no surprise to many if, as the season unfolds, Kimi quickly leaves behind his winter testing form. We have seen it before from him.

Secondly, we are yet to see how Massa performs under the weight of expectation. Whilst many will point to the fact that moving into the spotlight at Ferrari has been the making of him; it is surely easier to develop as a driver whilst playing understudy to Michael Schumacher than it is to do so as the man the Tifosi are expecting to deliver the title.  As I still believe that Massa has some developing to do if he is to become the finished article, I can’t rule out him making mistakes over the season.

All that said; if there is an opportunity to make some money on Massa, it has to be now whilst his team mate is coming to terms with his car and the Brazilian’s confidence is sky high. Ladbrokes apparently have a special bet for Massa to be leading the Driver’s Championship after three rounds at 2/1, but I can’t see it on their website. Instead a safer option would probably be to try and trade his outright price either on the exchanges or on SportingIndex’s Driver’s Championship Index. I personally would be surprised to see anything as big as 7/2 available when the F1 roadshow rocks up in Spain.

Incidentally, my initial reaction to Ladbrokes 9/4 for the Australian Grand Prix was that it was on the large side. However I think I will wait and see what their competitors come up with before taking the plunge.


Written by f1punter

March 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm

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