Formula 1: Against The Odds

Malaysian Margins

with 2 comments

Sepang CircuitThe start of the 2010 season has drawn much comment, ranging from the expected – are the new regulations working? – to the less expected – was the track too long to encourage overtaking? One observation that I haven’t seen anywhere however is that we have had two wide-margin winners. Is this just a coincidence, or is it a product of the new rules and revised strategies?

Fernando Alonso won the Bahrain Grand Prix by 16.00 seconds; the furthest in the race’s history. Indeed, since the inaugural race in 2004, the previous average winning distance was just 4.81 seconds. There was a similar story in Australia where Jenson Button triumphed by 12.00 seconds. In the previous ten visits to Albert Park the average winning distance has been only 7.48 seconds.

I think that it is too early to be jumping to any rash conclusions, but it is nonetheless noteworthy. Next up is Malaysia and this is where it gets really interesting. The average winning margin in the last ten Malaysian Grand Prix has been 19.71 seconds. That is well above average. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with the track layout, but have never known for sure.

To put this in context, the average winning margin for all circuits in the 2009 season was 8.9 seconds. If we remove Malaysia from that sample – where last year the winning margin was 22.72 seconds – the average falls to 8.03 seconds.

Unfortunately the wide margin victories in the first two races don’t appear to have gone completely unnoticed by the bookmakers. The prices on offer are certainly not as generous as at previous Malaysian Grand Prix. The two best “regular” fixed-odds prices are:

Over 6.5 seconds – 8/11 @ William Hill
Over 10 seconds – 6/5 @ Bet365

However, given that we have twice in the past seen winning margins in Malaysia of over 39 seconds, I think that there is a better way to play this. Those looking for a long-shot could try:

Over 25 seconds – 14/1 @ Bwin

My preference though is to look to the spread markets. Sporting Index quote 9-12 seconds for their winning margin spread. Given that this is below both the season-average-to-date and the ten-year-track-average, this is where I feel that the value lies. Even Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello couldn’t engineer a dead-heat, so the downside of the bet will always be less than your total stake and the upside is potentially generous.

Buy @ 12 seconds on SportingIndex’s Winning Margin spread

Good luck.


Written by f1punter

March 31, 2010 at 11:51 pm

2 Responses

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