Monday 16 December 2019

New Motorsport Week article: 1962 - December F1 and the changing of the guard

Bilsen, Joop van / Anefo / neg. stroken, 1945-1989,, item number 913-9470 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl
As we creep towards Christmas, imagine that in the here and now the Formula 1 season still had a race to do. Imagine too that the F1 championship had yet to be decided, and it would be resolved in that lingering final round.

And imagine too that the race is to take place between Christmas Day and New Year.

Well in 1962, uniquely, all of this came together. And that was far from the only thing striking about the season, which was one of remarkable change.

For Motorsport Week I look back at the seismic season. You can have a read here:

Thursday 5 December 2019

2020 F1 Betting Preview: More of the same from Hamilton and Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes ended another season on top
Photo: Octane Photography
As the sadly recently-departed Clive James once noted, the next Formula 1 season begins at the same moment the previous one ends. Not least for the betting-minded F1 fan, considering where’s best to place their money such as by scanning this Bodog review. Bodog is a big name in the sports betting industry and usually provides great odds for F1 races. So, with the 2019 campaign just finished, minds turn immediately to 2020.

The 2019 F1 season looked more of the same. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes won the titles again, the team winning 15 of the 21 races; Hamilton 11 of them. There are not major regulation changes for 2020, meaning the ‘feed in’ to next year should be fairly direct. And all this is reflected in Hamilton’s odds to be 2020 world champion, just 4/6.

Yet scratch the surface of 2019 and Mercedes’ dominance was not as the headline figures suggested. It often was not the fastest car, and instead relied on consistency, organisation and avoiding errors to beat its Ferrari and Red Bull foes. Hamilton indeed only got five pole positions – two fewer than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari appeared often to have the raw material to challenge Mercedes much more closely in the table. If for 2020 it can sort out its organisational problems – big ‘if’ – titles are plausible. And, with this, Leclerc is a possibly-generous 6/1 to be next season’s champion.

Can Max Verstappen (left) or Charles Leclerc (right)
topple Hamilton in 2020?
Photo: Octane Photography
His team-mate Sebastian Vettel is even longer at 15/2. His 2019 year was trying but he wasn’t outclassed by Leclerc, and is not to be written off.

Neither is the prodigious Max Verstappen, and some rated his personal 2019 as better than Hamilton’s. The key is whether his Red Bull will be up to the task. It often looked that way in the latter part of this year, with its Honda power unit appearing a match for the rest.

Then again Red Bull has a habit of starting seasons slowly which leaves it too far off the championship pace. Verstappen 2020 champion odds still look decent at 7/1.

And with Hamilton the clear 2020 favourite there’s another tantalising set of odds on offer – who will ‘win’ the drivers’ championship without Hamilton? Those odds look tempting: Leclerc is 7/4; Verstappen 2/1 and Vettel 3/1.

But what about the ‘incumbent’? Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was a comfortable runner-up behind Hamilton in the table this year. He’s a full 5/2 to be another to deliver more of the same in 2020.