The German Grand Prix is the most difficult race of the Formula One season on which to bet because of the crazy changes to the rules that are about to take place.
FRIC – short for front and rear interconnected suspension – is the only thing about which Formula One people have been talking ahead of the German Grand Prix. Why? Because FRIC, which is a system that helps stabilise a car through corners by keeping its ride height as consistent as possible, has been deemed illegal by FIA race director Charlie Whiting.
Unless all 11 Formula One teams agree to delay banning the use of FRIC until next year it will be illegal for teams to use the system from the German Grand Prix onwards. There is a real chance that there will not be an agreement ahead of the German Grand Prix and that, fearful of post-race protests, some teams will remove FRIC from their cars.
What does this mean? Well, one can bet one’s bottom dollar that Mercedes will remove FRIC from its championship-leading cars and take a performance hit. The difficulty for punters is working out how big that hit will be and whether it will bring the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg back to the field. Mercedes has won eight of this season’s nine races, filling the first two spots in six of them.
And one should not underestimate the possibility of the rule changes having a major impact because there are precedents. For example, Michelin had to change the construction of its tyres midway through the 2003 Formula One competition and that played into the hands of Ferrari, as did the banning of technology that Renault developed for the 2006 campaign.
One has enjoyed backing Mercedes in the first half of the Formula One season but, rather than step into Hamilton or Rosberg at relatively short odds to win the German Grand Prix, there is better value to be found on other drivers.
The obvious play to start is with the Force India team since the reports are that it is one of the very few Formula One teams that are not using a FRIC system. Therefore, it makes sense that Force India should close the gaps on FRIC users.
Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez occupy seventh and 11th positions in the Formula One championship after nine rounds, with the German driver posting six top sixs and his Mexican colleague achieving that feat twice.
Paddy Power is offering odds of 2.62 that Hulkenberg ends the German Grand Prix in the top six, a fair offer when one considers that he has a 66.7 per cent strike rate this term, which equates to odds of 1.50. And it helps that Hulkenberg is one of four locals competing at the Hockenheimring, which does not host the German Grand Prix annually these days.
That is an important thing to note for anyone reviewing the results of German Grand Prix races. The Hockenheimring held the German Grand Prix from 1986 to 2006 inclusive but it has shared the honour with the Nurburgring since 2008, with the Hockenheimring staging the event in even-numbered years.
Fernando Alonso has won the last two German Grand Prix races at the Hockenheimring and before that it was Hamilton who stood on top of the podium. All up, Alonso has won three German Grand Prix titles, all of them at the Hockenheimring.
Nico Hulkenberg to finish Top 6
Practice starts 18th July
Where to Bet: Paddy Power