Formula 1: Against The Odds

Glorious British Webber

with 2 comments

A few people will know that I backed Mark Webber in qualifying at Silverstone last year at odds of 150/1. With just one driver left out on track at the end of the session, the Australian was on provisional pole. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, but the bet has stuck in my mind ever since.

As early as last weekend I was watching Oddschecker, waiting for the firms to price up the Silverstone Saturday. Sky Bet were first out with their prices on Monday and the odds for the two Red Bull Renault drivers immediately caught my eye:

9/4 Vettel
9/1 Webber

Throughout the week various firms have released their prices, but none on Oddschecker have been bigger than 9/1 about Webber. I did manage to spot Bwin offering 11/1, but I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about their service. Even Webber’s back price on Betfair has been consistently shorter than Sky Bet’s best price.

So, is there any value in backing Webber this year? First thoughts might be that it is no 150/1 offering, but the competitiveness of the car has moved on by such a degree that it was never going to be. Then there is the relativity of his price to Vettel’s. Webber has a reputation for being exceptionally quick over one-lap and has, in previous seasons, dominated his team-mates in this regard. It is perhaps surprising then that Vettel is leading their qualifying head-to-head seven-nil so far this season.

We should remember though that these drivers are in the same car and whilst Vettel was on fire at the start of the year, Webber has actually brought home more points in each of the last three Grand Prix. Perhaps he is starting to get to grips with his machine?

Jenson Button has been the man to beat in Qualifying this year and it is reasonable to assume that any driver that finishes ahead of the Briton on Saturday, has a fair chance of ending up on Pole. Being ahead of the Brawns will be critical for the Red Bulls, as we saw in Turkey the difficulty that they had when following other cars. Could the answer be for the team to repeat the strategy of last year and drop the fuel out in Q3? Certainly the Silverstone circuit is expected to play to the strengths of the Adrian Newey designed car.

Something else to always consider when betting on the British race any more than a few moments before the start, is the possibility of inclement weather. As I type this we are bathed in glorious sunshine, but there is no guarantee that it will be the same come Saturday 20th June. Poor weather wouldn’t put me off backing a Red Bull driver though, with the car perhaps the most proven in wet conditions this year, illustrated by the team’s dominant one-two finish in China.

At 20/1 bar, the bookmakers seem to be excluding the possibility of anyone other than a Brawn or Red Bull driver leading the parade lap. Barrichello has a known liking for the Silverstone circuit and has a couple of Pole Positions under his belt from his Ferrari days. Button as we know has been the man to beat. Vettel has had limited running at Silverstone. He qualified eighth on his only F1 appearance here and retired on the first lap. At last year’s three-day Silverstone test he managed just one day of clear running in his Toro Rosso.

If Webber is going to start to redress the qualifying head-to-head imbalance with his team-mate, then I feel that this could be the place to do it. Assuming that Red Bull want at least one of their drivers ahead of the Brawn GP pair – and will fuel accordingly – I think backing Webber as the clear outsider of the quartet is a good starting point for the weekend.


2 Responses

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  1. Sit tight for a bit, F1Punter. Webber already out to a double-figure price on BetFair.


    June 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  2. Not much matched, but it is getting there. 10/1 available with SportingBet.


    June 16, 2009 at 10:08 pm

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