F1 betting is big business, and eager sports books are keen to attract punters who are interested in betting on Formula 1. All the biggest sports books give their customers ample opportunity to invest in F1 betting, and some even run special promotions for each F1 race during the season. Such promotions will add extra interest, if you're a lover of F1 betting.
The first F1 season took place in 1950, and involved just seven races. Six of the races took place in Europe, with the other being the famed Indianapolis 500 in the USA. The 'Indy 500' ceased being an F1 race in 1960. F1 is regarded as one of the most dangerous participation sports in the world.
The F1 season runs from March until November. Races in Australia and Asia take place in March and April, Europe from May to September, then Asia again and the Americas from September until the end of the season. A race takes place every two weeks. For 2016 twenty-one races were scheduled – a new record.
An actual F1 race takes place over an entire weekend. There are two practise sessions on Friday, and qualifying sessions on the Saturday. For safety reasons, only twenty cars are allowed to compete in an F1 race. The qualifying sessions determine which twenty cars make it to the race, and where they start on the starting grid.
Drivers score twenty-five points for a win, eighteen points for second and fifteen points for third. The scale continues downwards until the tenth-placed driver, who wins one point.
There are two championships – one for drivers, and one for constructors. In recent years (and in fact in the 1970s and early 1980s) the constructors championship has been dominated by Ferrari, although in the 2000s the Austrian Red Bull team and the German Mercedes team have also won a few constructors titles.
F1 betting usually involves betting on the overall drivers or constructors champion, and of course the winners of individual races. You can also bet on the number of races a driver will win over the season, and 'matches' in which drivers out of two compared will be victorious the most frequently.
At the best sites you will be offered plenty of other markets beyond the simple 'who will win category'. You can wager upon which driver will be the fastest qualifier, and which driver will be the fastest in the final practice session (qualifiers and practice sessions require less endurance than the race itself, so often different drivers 'win' qualifiers and practice sessions).
You can also cover the equivalent of an 'each-way' placing as with horse racing as you can bet on a driver achieving a 'podium' finish, which means finishing either first, second or third. For greater chances of a win, you can wager on a specific driver finishing in the top six. Combination bets are possible too, including predicting the podium drivers in the correct order.
The bigger the sports book, the more inventive the markets – that seems to be the rule. Sites that have a dedicated F1 presence will have more markets to wager upon, so if you enjoy watching F1 races as much as you enjoy wagering upon them, then you can make the race more exciting by laying all manner of bets. You can bet on the first driver to retire during a race, for example, or the starting grid position of the eventual winning driver.
You can also bet on the number of cars to be 'classified' (i.e. to be declared an official finisher), or a specific driver to be classified. You can even bet on a team to have both their cars classified (a team comprises two cars only).
We must say that we're impressed by the F1 betting coverage offered by Bet365. This sports betting site is famous for its no-nonsense approach, and it certainly gives excellent coverage to F1 betting, including plenty of inventive markets. If you prefer the simpler approach to F1 betting, then there's also the chance of betting on outrights for both drivers and constructors.
If you really can't wait until the next F1 race then you can even bet on virtual sports – including motor racing – at Bet365. A new virtual race roars into action every three minutes or so. Watch out too for any special promotions centred around each F1 race.
Another site that habitually earns pole position on the grid when it comes to formula one betting is Coral. This is one of the UK's best-established online sports books with extensive coverage of every F1 event that happens along. There are plenty of inventive markets, although not perhaps to the scope of Bet365. As an additional bonus, if you're a real petrol-head, then you'll find coverage of other major motor racing tournaments including NASCAR in the United States.
Bookmakers will publish F1-specific offers throughout the season, giving you the chance to bank more money for your bets. Get all the latest deals here.