2017 Formula 1 Preview
Lewis Hamilton will once again start a Formula 1 season as a short-priced favorite. The 2008, 2014, and 2015 world champion can be backed at odds of 5/4 (2.25) which, on a mathematical basis means he is rated 44% certain to lift the title in 2017.
On recent form, most would agree his chances are way better than 44% particularly with his old teammate and 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg now retired. Valtteri Bottas has filled the void the German left at Mercedes but the Finn, who has yet to win a Formula 1 race, is trading as fourth favorite available at 5/1.
Sandwiched between this pair is the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. If you shop around at http://pelurit-fi.com, you will find the best prices about this duo are around 3/1 and 4/1, respectively.
Considering their Red Bull car has been truly overshadowed by the Mercedes since the hybrid 1.6 litre V6 engines came into being at the start of 2014, their prices look remarkably short. In fact, the Red Bull team are just 6/4 to claim the Constructor's title this year.
But there is some sound reasoning for their popularity with the punters. 2017 sees a raft of regulation changes which will see wider tires and lower cars produce considerably higher speeds (possibly up to 5 seconds a lap faster than 2016) and putting the inference on aerodynamics.
Red Bull's glory years, when Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive World titles (2010-2013), were all credited to the superior aerodynamics their car featured and that was generally recognized as a result of the work of their Chief Technical Officer, Adrian Newey.
Newey has reportedly returned to Red Bull's F1 division to oversee the development of the 2017 car following two years on other projects within the company. If his notorious brilliance does see his car surpass the seemingly impenetrable Mercedes dominance few within the sport would be surprised.
But there are more than two dogs in this fight and it would be foolhardy to dismiss the Ferrari's piloted by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. The pair may be considered underdogs, as underlined by the bookmakers quotes of 16/1 and 50/1 about their world championship chances, but Ferrari have untold resources and they too will not leave a stone unturned when it comes to exploiting loopholes in the new regulations.
Remarkably there is only one new face on the 2017 starting grid, Canadian Lance Stroll. The 18-year-old is the son of Lawrence Stroll, one of the richest men in the world, but that should not take away from his record on the track. In 2014, the youngster won the Italian F4 championship, in 2015 he won the Toyota racing series, and last year he claimed the Formula 3 championship by winning 14 of the 30 races.
Stroll is going to sit alongside veteran Felipe Massa in the Williams this season and, despite being 750/1 for the championship, you can fully expect him to match and outperform his Brazilian teammate this year despite that driver being just 200/1 in the outright Drivers Championship betting markets.