It stands to reason that weather is a big influence in a race. The teams use different tyres to suit different weather condition. That might be very hot conditions, or wet weather. Wet weather is a trader’s paradise. Changeable conditions even better. In certain situations the race may be delayed, or started under a safety car. I’ll come to the safety car later. But if there is a chance of this, backing the pole position will result in a very healthy profit, as there is no possibility of that car being overtaken. It’s odds will dramatically reduce.
Tyres possibly have the biggest influence on the cars performance. There are several different grades of tyre, which are all made by the same manufacturer (Pirelli). Depending on how abrasive the circuit is, and how the driver treats the tyres they can last a whole race or 6 or 7 laps. There are many different compounds. Slicks (no tread) have super soft, soft, medium and hard. Intermediates and full wets have fully treaded tyres. The tyres must match conditions. If they do not at best the lap times of the drivers will be very uncompetitive, at worst they will crash. Slicks in wet weather = certain crash. Wets in drying track = overheating and they wear out in minutes. When the circuit is part wet and part dry, there is always drama. This throws up betting opportunities. If a driver changes his tyres in can take between 30 and 60 seconds to enter the pits, change tyres and get back up to speed on the circuit. There are strictly enforced speed limits in the pits areas. Each driver must use 2 different compounds of tyres unless the race is designated as a wet race at the start.
It goes without saying that how each team manages tyre wear, and when to change the tyres is the biggest influence in a result. Even to the point of altering the time of changing the tyres to avoid having to overtake slower cars in front.
The diverse nature of the F1 circuits is part of its fascination. From the new purpose built high speed circuits with lots of overtaking points, to the most famous GP of all Monaco. Where the cars race around the streets of Monaco. Overtaking is at a premium. If you are familiar with the type of circuit your betting strategy can be tailored to the circuit. If a driver were to lead into the first corner at Monaco. Realistically the only way he would relinquish the lead would be driver error, mechanical failure, or a poor pit stop. His odds would diminish accordingly.
This can encompass many different things. Choice of tyres and the amount of times they are changed is a big one. It is sometimes possible to work out how many stops each driver may make based on times per lap. There are other factors that absolutely must be taken into account here to. I’ll give 2 examples in the same race. During the time I am writing this the Malaysian GP has not long taken place. Coming into the final pit stop for a tyre change the 2 red Bull teams cars were in positions 1 and 2. Webber was in front and 3 times, and current World Champion Vettel was in 2nd. Webber came out in front, but for the next 2 laps the 2 cars were fighting for the lead. Both the drivers had been told NOT to race each other as the team were worried about excessive tyre wear, and it was feared they wouldn’t get to the end of the race. We are not privy to this information. As it happened Vettel disobeyed team orders and overtook Webber. Perhaps that is why he is currently the best in the world. If you had backed Vettel and he sat behind Webber, even though he was obviously faster you would be pretty fed up. Imagine that in a horse race!
The other example was in the Mercedes team. Hamilton was in 3rd and his team mate Rosberg in 4th. Rosberg was much faster than Hamilton, and pleaded with his team boss on the radio to be allowed to overtake. He was told Hamilton could go faster, but was obeying team orders to conserve fuel. He did not overtake. For the most part these things can be taken into account. But it’s something to be aware of.
If the is an accident or breakdown and a car has come to rest in a dangerous place, and the Marshalls need to go onto the track to remove the car, A safety car is deployed. While a Safety car is on track overtaking is not allowed. All the cars must line up behind the Safety Car until it is safe to carry on the race. This throws everything up in the air.
If the race is started under the Safety Car, which sometimes happens in exceptional circumstances when the conditions are so bad it would be considered dangerous for a normal start. The race cars follow the SC for a few laps. As I said earlier, this is an excellent opportunity for a guaranteed profit. As the driver in Pole position would be behind the safety can, there would be no prospect of him being overtaken until the race was underway. This would see a dramatic reduction in his odds.