Monday, 7 October 2013

Japan: early discussion

As we enter the latter stages of the season we have multiple pairs of back-to-back races, hence this discussion starting a day after the Korean Grand Prix (which may be the last, incidentally. The circuit’s too isolated, surrounding developments haven’t been built and the organisers are annoyed by the high cost of staging the race which is the only use of the circuit all year).

The Suzuka circuit is a proper one, with lots of elevation changes, a very fast flowing section (similar to Silverstone) and some very high speed corners. Sadly, I expect this will mean it’ll suit Red Bull. However, given their resurgence, it’s worth mentioning that last year Sauber had a strong result at Suzuka, when Kobayashi got third. Perhaps Hulkenberg will be able to get good points again (thanks to him Sauber are now tied on points but ahead of Toro Rosso in the Constructors’) and Gutierrez could nab his first point or two.

Lotus benefited from some fortune with the safety car timing in Korea but their raw pace in the race was also very good. They could be a threat to Red Bull and Mercedes. Mercedes recently seem to have lost out in the races. It was a combination of misfortune (Rosberg’s nose drooping) and misjudgement (leaving Hamilton out too long) that cost them in Korea.

Ferrari are fourth fastest now. With only an average start. Alonso really didn’t make any headway all day.

Early forecasts have the circuit dry all weekend, but it’s a good race track so hopefully that won’t be a detriment.

Given the Red Bull/Mercedes dominance in qualifying and (perhaps not the Silver Arrows) in the race it’s interesting to note that Ferrari and Lotus have top scored in the most recent Grands Prix. This is largely due to Webber’s car exploding (the rumours of Vettel having a button marked “Multi-21”, which ignites a small fire in Webber’s engine, are entirely untrue, I’m given to understand).

Driver market stuff: still no word yet but I imagine Hulkenberg will get a deal sewn up in a week or two. He’s tall, which is a disadvantage and may become a significant one next year, but he definitely has a cool head and fast pace and deserves to be in a better team. Lotus seems likeliest.

Grosjean, I imagine, will be retained. He’s always had the pace but his judgement (especially off the line) was in doubt, but he’s barely put a foot wrong this year.

The biggest unknown is Massa. He’s small and can be very, very fast (we saw that at the end of last year) but he’s been inconsistent for a while now. Not sure where he’ll end up. Sauber would seem a possibility, as would leaving F1 altogether (which would mean we’d have no Brazilian drivers, which would seem odd).

As always, your comments, thoughts, witticisms and tips are welcome below.

Morris Dancer


  1. It's getting drearily predictable when Vettel shoots off from pole and builds up a 5 second lead after a couple of laps.

  2. Hey, Anonymous.

    Yeah, the speed with which the gap gets opened effectively robs the race of excitement at the sharp end. There were some interesting battles lower down (Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Alonso, as well as Maldonado, Perez, Massa and Bottas) but the tedium at the front also plays into the title race becoming a procession.

    We can but hope that the significant regulation changes shake things up. The last time they changed that much I think was the year Brawn/Button won.

    1. I'm not actually anonymous, it's Tim_B from

      I just couldn't work out how to log in to your blog :-(

    2. There are a few profile options. The easiest is the Name/URL option. You need to do a dreaded captcha to prove you're human but that's all. If you have a Google account you can use that.

      Nice to see you on, Mr. B.

  3. For my early doors bet, I've laid Vettel winning the Japanese Grand Prix with Betfair at 1.56, this equates to odds against him not winning of 1.7/1 net of the betting exchange's 5% commission.

    I don't expect anyone here to agree with me but I reckon that he surely can't continue winning race after race after race? Even if he's up for it, and boringly he probably is, sooner or later his car is going to let him down or he's going to get a shunt or another driver is going to drive out of their skin?
    The other factor applying this weekend is that he's already to all intents and purposes won the F1 Championship and maybe he or his team might just ease down ever so slightly.
    I don't remember any other driver, even Schumacher in his prime, ever being priced as short as this to win a Grand Prix and as such I consider this lay bet offers fair value.

  4. I've just tested the comparative value of my above lay on Vettel, by checking out what return is achievable by backing each of the six next most likely winners based on their best odds currently available, which involves using five different bookies as follows:
    Driver................Decimal odds..............% Staked

    Staking each of these bets each of these bets as shown above would produce net winning odds of only 1.23/1 should any of these drivers triumph, i.e. a very considerably poorer return than laying Vettel at odds of 1.7/1 and bearing in mind one has only covered 6 of the total of 21 drivers opposing Vettel.
    So an absolute no-brainer from a betting perspective and this simply demonstrates just how massive is the bookies' overround in a market such as this and consequently how difficult it is to turn a profit by betting on F1.
    One's only realistic chance in my opinion is to spot those occasions where a bookie makes a pricing error - this does happen, but only if one acts on such an opportunity quickly as these are never around for long.

  5. Yes, good to see you Tim - I used to post anonymously, adding my PfP name on at the foot of every post, until I starting using my Google email identity which made everything very much simpler.

  6. I've just spotted that Betfair have Grosjean at 44 decimal (41.85 net), which for some reason doesn't feature on Oddschecker, almost twice the odds of 23.0 shown above for him to win the GP.
    I'll have a couple of quid of that to continue my established practice of protecting my season's points SELL spread bet on this driver.
    That's probably going to be my lot, although I might be tempted to top up on my lay bet on Vettel should his odds trend any lower.

  7. Mr. Putney, I wouldn't bet against Vettel now. I just checked the forecast and the weather is expected to be dry.

    The Grosjean to win odds look tempting.

    Will put the pre-qualifying piece up a little later today.

  8. Of course Vettel is likely to win, very likely, he wouldn't be priced at 1/2 otherwise!
    However, he's simply bound to slip up sooner or later and after the terrific run of victories he's enjoyed of late, the odds of yet another consecutive win must be lengthening - it's in the nature of things. That said, this is one of his favourite tracks.