Formula 1 season is just around the corner! Well, no, it isn’t, but that doesn’t stop sportsbooks from listing futures odds. We’re taking a look at both the Constructors Championship and Drivers Championship outrights. Will Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton repeat? More importantly, is there value in wagering on them?
The odds below are available at William Hill.
2018 Constructors Championship Odds
- Mercedes: 2/3
- Red Bull: 11/4
- Ferrari: 7/2
- McLaren: 12/1
Every other team is at 80/1 or 100/1, and don’t really have a chance of winning.
Mercedes are a strong favorite, and why not? They’ve dominated since the start of the turbo era, will likely dominate until the next power unit redesign, and (despite some struggles with aero correlation) were mostly fantastic in 2017. Was the 2017 model a “diva”? Absolutely. Was 2017 the first year under new aerodynamic regulations that had teams starting from white paper? Yes. Did they get things under control, and win five of the last six races? Also yes.
You might be a little surprised to see Red Bull as the second favorite, but it’s difficult to overstate the deficit they had to overcome when the FIA effectively put their entire development strategy in the trash can. Red Bull had designed their car’s aerodynamics around a stabilisation system that was promptly banned, forcing them back to square one. That they were able to score two wins towards the end of the season speaks to their pace of development and Max Verstappen’s limitless talent. That they were able to score those wins despite their power units lacking in the reliability department is doubly impressive.
Ferrari built a great car in 2017, not as fast as the Mercedes but more consistently quick, and much better on the tight circuits. They’ll build another flyer in 2018, and might be the value pick here. They don’t have the Mercedes’ price, they don’t have the Red Bull’s reliability issues, and they have the most-talented second driver in the sport (Kimi Raikkonen).
To say that McLaren have struggled mightily is something of an understatement. The Honda power unit they’ve used for the past few seasons has been tale of woe after tale of woe, with sad Fernando Alonso becoming a meme and highly-paid-but-absent Fernando Alonso becoming a reality at the Monaco Grand Prix. Now that they’re onto Renault power units, it’ll be interesting to see how fast they can get up to speed. Was the power unit the last piece of the puzzle that Honda kept failing to deliver, or have they been unable to meaningfully engage with the new formula because they’ve been so far behind on power and reliability?
Betting Tip: I’m as surprised as you are that the Ferrari (7/2) is listed so long. Worth the bet.
2018 Drivers Championship Odds
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 11/10
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 4/1
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 9/2
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): 8/1
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 14/1
- Fernando Alonso (McLaren): 14/1
After Alonzo, you have second drivers, who generally aren’t worth a bet, and drivers that would be thrilled to get one win in 2018.
Lewis Hamilton is obviously the favorite in 2018, having dominated last season and won three of the last four, only losing out to his own talented teammate, Nico Rosberg, in 2016, before the mercurial German up and retired. Valtteri Bottas is a good driver, and by all accounts a valuable technician in set-up, but is generally there to either complete the one-two or clean up if something happens to Hamilton. He is not a serious title contender.
Sebastian Vettel (and Ferrari generally) must be struggling with letting a championship lead vanish last year. People will blame a few things for his loss, be it some emotional mistakes, or the failure of Ferrari’s updated engine, or a vast conspiracy, but the fact remains that the second-favorite here was very nearly the current world champion. He’s a fantastic driver, and possesses a consistency that wins championships; 4/1 is more of a measure of the Ferrari than of Vettel himself.
Max Verstappen might be the pick of the bunch. Severely limited by both his late-developing car and reliability issues, Verstappen nonetheless put together some of the very best performances we’ve seen from a young driver since, well, Lewis Hamilton. In the second year of the new formula, and with an aerodynamics strategy that isn’t illegal this time, Red Bull will be giving the young driver more of the tools he needs to work with. If Mercedes continues to struggle with correlation, and the Red Bull is able to find some semblance of reliability and performance, Verstappen will be ready to compete with the very best.
Fernando Alonso at 14/1 is a hoot. Maybe the McLaren really did only need a new engine, and maybe the 36-year-old is ready to get back on the top step of the podium. Likely not, though, as he hasn’t won a race since 2013 (then in a Ferrari) and constantly looks at the very edge of retirement.
Betting Tip: Max Verstappen (4/1) is going to win a world championship. You’re only betting on if it will happen this year.