Monday, 28 October 2013

Abu Dhabi: early discussion

Well, Vettel and Red Bull remain the champions. 2014 has the prospect of a change, but we’ll see. In the meantime, there are three races to finish off the season.

Abu Dhabi’s a fairly narrow circuit with barriers close to the track (and pit lane exit), so a safety car is probable.

The performance of the cars is largely locked in now, as any development on non-2014 relevant areas will have practically stopped. Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus are all fighting for 2nd in the Constructors’, but whilst this matters getting next year right is more important.

I expect Mercedes to be a little better in Abu Dhabi. They did well in Monaco and had a reasonably result (4th and 5th) in Singapore, which are fairly similar to the Yas Marina circuit.

Turning to the driver market, the prevailing rumours I’ve heard are:
Massa to Williams (replacing Maldonado)
Maldonado or Hulkenberg taking Raikkonen’s old seat

Some argue that Hulkenberg should get Perez’s seat, but I think that highly unlikely. For a start, Whitmarsh has said he’s too tall (interesting, given Button isn’t exactly a jockey). More importantly, McLaren really want Alonso either next year or, more likely, 2015. Perez is likely to remain but this is not confirmed.

Daniil Kvyat (young Russian chap) will replace Ricciardo at Toro Rosso, and Sirotkin, another young Russian, will join Sauber. So, Gutierrez must hope that Hulkenberg does go elsewhere or he would seem to have no chance of keeping his seat. (That said, Sauber isn’t flush, and Hulkenberg brings no money whereas I believe Gutierrez does. It’s not impossible that the German will end up without a seat in 2014).

Back to Abu Dhabi: rain’s unlikely, a safety car is, traffic will probably be at least slightly more of an issue (even with high degradation the track is narrower and there’s far less run-off than India), and the starting grid will probably have a strong resemblance to the final result.

However, it’s worth noting that if 2 stops are likely then some (Lotus) may again try something cunning.

It’s my intention to offer a qualifying tip, but we’ll see how practice goes.

Morris Dancer


  1. Is Sir Edric's Temple a Sebastian Vettel free zone?

    Tim B

  2. Betting-wise, I'm adopting a different approach this weekend. Basically I've decided that the bookies are so mean-spirited in the odds they offer punters - a fact I've been moaning on about all season, that I've decided to join them in laying 3 drivers against them achieving a podium finish.
    So far, only one of these bets has been matched on Betfair, namely Lewis Hamilton who I've laid on this basis at decimal odds of 2.50, excl the exchange firm's 5% commission. I'll identify the other two drivers concerned if and when my bets are matched.

  3. Mr. B, it certainly is (I'll plug it briefly in the pre-qualifying piece).

    Mr. Putney, that may come off but I'd be a bit uneasy about it. Hamilton has a very good record in Abu Dhabi. However, I anticipate Red Bull dominance, which would leave just 1 free spot on the podium, so it could well come off.

  4. Explaining my thinking as regards Lewis, his lay odds of 2.5 are equivalent to conventionally expressed odds of 6/4 or a 40% probability of him delivering on this bet. On any evaluation of current form he should and probably will finish behind both Red Bulls, thereby leaving him with only third place to achieve a winning podium finish. This would mean him having to overcome not only his fellow Mercedes Driver, who achieved a podium last time out, but also both Lotus cars and both Ferraris ..... an exceptionally tall order in my book and unlikely to be the case. Of course there's always the possibility of a non-finish by one of the Red Bulls.
    Lewis might also be somewhat de-motivated by the news this week that Ross Brawn looks set to leave Mercedes at the end of this season, who by all accounts was a major factor in his deciding to join this team last year.

  5. Hmm....

    You might be right.

    The odds aren't great, but winning's winning. How long's Hamilton's contract? 3 years, was it?

  6. Watching the free practice coverage of Abu Dhabi, there was an interesting piece of video from lap 56 of the Indian GP last week.

    Grosjean is trying to pass Raikkonen, and Kimi is being difficult. Lotus trackside boss Alan Permane radios "Kimi, get out of the f*cking way!"

    Kimi responds "Don't shout the f*ck....I'll move over when I have a chance."

    Looks like the divorce is not entirely amicable.

    Morris, you probably know this already, but in addition to the usual talk of hw Hulkenburg deserves a good drive, the comment was made that Pastor Maldonado brings $30 million in sponsorship.

    Tim B

  7. Yeah, I heard the audio of that after the race last week.

    Maldonado's money is not certain. There was a piece on Joe Saward's blog suggesting that it may be contingent on him driving for Williams.

    Lots of rumours flying, that Hulkenberg could go to Force India, or become a Ferrari reserve driver.

    1. A major Wiliams sponsor is PDVSA.

      Presumably that represents at least some of Maldonado's money, so his moving without them might diminish his cash haul for his new team..

      Tim B

  8. OK, all three of my bets laying drivers against a podium finish have now been matched and I can therefore share this information with you.
    Having laid Hamilton yesterday at 2.50, I followed this up today by laying Vettel at 1.24 (yes really!) and Webber at 1.72. Suddenly and inexplicably I feel rather nervous about these bets - although my financial exposure either way is very limited as follows:
    Should all 3 finish on the podium I lose £9
    Should no driver make it onto the podium I win £19.08
    Should Vettel & Webber make the podium I lose £3.58
    Should Vettel & Hamilton make the podium I lose £1.84
    Should Webber & Hamilton make the podium I make £6.50
    Should Vettel alone make the podium I make £3.58
    Should Webber alone make the podium I make £11.92
    Should Hamilton alone make the podium I make £!3.66
    Each of my prospective profitable positions shown above would be subject to a 5% commission deduction.
    I consider I would be very unlucky were all three drivers to make it onto the podium. Of the other 7 possible outcomes, 5 leave me in profit and 2 in a loss making position.
    Wish me luck!

  9. Indeed, Mr. B. Eddie Jordan on Inside F1 (News Channel, 6.45pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when there's a race) suggested the sponsorship he could bring was around £35m or $50m.

    Mr. Putney, interesting bet on Vettel. Discounting non-finishes, I think his worst actual finish this season is 4th. I would not have made that bet, but wish you luck. Lotus may very well help you win.

    P3's from 10-11am, so I'll try and get the pre-qualifying piece up shortly after 11.