Two Australian drivers have won Formula One titles and one is willing to take a punt on Daniel Ricciardo joining Jack Brabham and Alan Jones on the honour roll next year.
Ricciardo was the only non-Mercedes representative to start a Formula One race from pole position in 2016, beginning the Monaco Grand Prix from the prime spot. Ricciardo ought to have won Formula One’s most glamorous race but a tactical stuff-up by the Australian driver’s Red Bull team handed victory to Lewis Hamilton. However, Ricciardo claimed the Malaysian Grand Prix as part of a rare Red Bull quinella.
Formula One will be a totally different animal in 2017 than 2016 because of a raft of rule changes, the objective of which is to improve average lap times by four to five seconds. At the risk of reading like a rule book, the significant car modifications include increasing the width of the front wing, lowering the rear wing and raising the minimum weight. Teams will be restricted to four power units – irrespective of the number of races on the Formula One calendar – and suppliers will reduce the associated costs.
Mercedes has been the dominant force in Formula One since 2014, primarily thanks to the power of its engine. Mercedes won 19 of this season’s 21 Formula One races and, therefore, bookmakers had little option other than to install the men in Silver Arrows colours – Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – as their early favourites for the next term’s championship.
One has considerable respect for Hamilton and one subscribes to the general view that Rosberg is an undeserving Formula One title winner who, all things being equal, is not in the same class as his Mercedes teammate. One would not be amazed if Hamilton regained the Formula One championship next year but, given the state of the initial market, one thinks that he is worth nothing more than a stake-saving wager.
Ricciardo represents the 2017 Formula One value at odds of +500 with Ladbrokes. Most Formula One analysts have got it into their heads that Ricciardo will play second fiddle to Max Verstappen but one is not convinced. Ricciardo and Verstappen competed in 17 Formula One races as Red Bull colleagues and the Australian beat the Dutchman 10 times. And Ricciardo edged Verstappen in more qualifying sessions.
There is a school of thought that Verstappen is Red Bull’s golden child but, again, one does not agree. Ricciardo has been a Red Bull project for several years and he is one of the most likeable drivers in the high-pressure Formula One environment. Ricciardo is more marketable than Verstappen so, if Red Bull does end up favouring one of its drivers, the Australian may be the man who receives the benefits.
One consensus with which one agrees is that Red Bull is the best innovator in Formula One and, if any constructor is likely to improve its ranking under next term’s rules, the Austrian-owned team is the favourite. Excluding the engine, Red Bull’s 2016 package was the best in Formula One and its principal, Christian Holder, has made no secret of the fact that his staff have been working on next season’s car for quite some time, certainly longer than Mercedes has.
Backing Ricciardo and saving on Hamilton is the best way to have a Formula One futures wager. At odds of +500 with Ladbrokes and +187 with Bet365 respectively, having 65.16 per cent of one’s stake on Ricciardo and 34.84% on Hamilton means that one will have a +291 winner if the Australian triumphs and one will break even if the Briton prevails.
The provisional schedule for the 2017 Formula One series runs from Sunday 26 March in Australia to Sunday 26 November in the United Arab Emirates. It does not hurt one’s bet that the title race will get under way in Ricciardo’s country.
Daniel Ricciardo to Win the Drivers Title
Formula One 2017 Season
Lewis Hamilton to Win the Drivers Title
Formula One 2017 Season
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