Friday, 1 March 2013

2013 pre-season discussion

After literally some demand, I've decided to put up this pre-season piece. It's going up a few days earlier than anticipated because reasons of a personal nature mean I may not be around to do so immediately after the third test finishes. Hopefully there'll be no problem regarding the articles for the Australian race.

At this stage of the season I've made a couple of bets but only with very small stakes, and they're not tips. I've backed both McLaren drivers (Button 8 and Perez 24) and Lotus (14).

One of the most interesting snippets of information to come out is that Paddy Lowe, technical chap at McLaren, is on gardening leave and thought to be on his way (in 2014) to Mercedes. This would suggest Brawn, who has been involved in 8 title victories, is on his way out.

The new Pirelli tyres (with orange replacing the hard-to-see silver of last year's hard tyre) are softer than cheese and degrade more rapidly than ever. So, we may see a slight rise in pit stops and/or a premium on tyre management.

Pirelli have announced their compounds for the first few races:

Australia has the supersoft and medium
Malaysia medium and hard
China soft and medium
Bahrain soft and hard

So that's a single supersoft use, two soft, three medium and two hard. It's also worth pointing out that every combination is different, though for the last two the softer (and therefore qualifying) tyre is the same.

After the first two tests the mood music suggested it'd be tight at the start of the season. McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus look in good shape, Ferrari look competitive and the Mercedes seemed pretty good. Williams also appear to have taken a step forward, although it remains to be seen how fast Bottas is and whether Maldonado will manage to avoid ramming anyone else.

Force India have, as of 26 February when I wrote this bit, still only got one driver. This seems late to the point of stupidity to me. A day or two later it was announced, at last, that Sutil has the job. Bianchi will probably be their test driver, though there's a chance he, or someone else, may take Razia's seat at Marussia.

On the second day of testing Gary Anderon's view (bearing in mind the track had mostly been somewhat wet) was this:

"The Red Bull looks well balanced with lots of grip. The McLaren and Sauber have understeer (a lack of front grip) and the Lotus is well balanced but not as planted as the Red Bull. The Ferrari lacks rear grip. It really has no traction in the wet."

On the green line:

I've decided not to try and keep the green line (commentators tips) going in the same way as last year. This is only a matter of me not recording them, I'm still very keen for tips to be offered and will refer to their success or failure in much the same way as I do my own. So, when I post graphs we'll go back to just the hedged and unhedged lines.

It's pretty hard to be sure where everyone is. I think that it may also be the case that wet weather in the third test means that teams may not have a full understanding of their cars in the initial part of the season, which could lead to unpredictability and/or hilarity.

Anyway, please do let me know your thoughts and bets in the comments below.

Morris Dancer


Anonymous said...

What's this got to do with politics? For those who want to read commentary on cars going round and round in circles, surely there are hundreds of blogs dedicated to the topic?

Morris Dancer said...

O grumpy turnip, thy wibbling ways offer no food for thought but a famine of wit and wisdom!

My stomach growls at thee, hungering instead for insights to digest and morsels of considered thought in which to delight.

Nigel said...

Wibbling indeed, and anonymously to boot.

Vettel (correctly) is still presumptive favourite, but I continue to like Button's chances in this season's McLaren - though they might take a race or two to get to grips with the car.

Lots of teams (including now RB) testing the DRD, so I presume they are close to getting it to work reliably.

Once it gets going, the top 6 market for the championship will be very interesting.

Morris Dancer said...

Top 6 will be interesting but could be very tricky to predict.

I'm hoping Perez can spring a surprise. As far as unpredictability goes Lotus and Mercedes could be the ones to watch.

There's a technical post on the DRD here:

Few weeks old so I don't think it includes the Red Bull one.

I also agree Vettel's rightly favourite, but evens does not tempt me.

Anonymous said...

It's defintely not a handicap; it's don't let that lead to vision disturbances later in your area. So before you head out, and 275 neon Sunglasses from Spy Optic Stratos Ii Oval Sunglasses Feature Case included Description of Jessica Simpson.

Nigel said...

Today will be interesting, as teams should be introducing some of their 'secret' upgrades.

Williams, for example, might be fitting a Red Bull style exhaust ramp. Some nice details on their car already - like the blown wheelnuts.

This weekend's practice times might actually tell us something.

Morris Dancer said...

Raikkonen's ill, unfortunately. Might not test tomorrow either.

Nigel said...

Hamilton very quick this morning - while it's difficult to compare directly, he's quicker than his own pole time last year.

The Mercedes may well not be the fastest car this year, but they are definitely much more competitive than last season.
The top 6 market could be very tight indeed, with five teams (Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari and Meercedes) all in there.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the courage (yet) to enter into any spread bets ..... chance would be a fine thing since Sporting have yet to offer their Drivers' points market spreads for the forthcoming season.
I am however going to oppose both Morris & Nigel by opposing Button and have done so by laying him against finishing in the top three for the season at what in my opinion is a startlingly attractive price of 2.14 with Betfair (currently 2.64), this equates to odds of only 6/5 after taking account of the exchange firm's 5% commission.
Other things being equal, both Vettel and Alonso can confidently be expected to finish ahead of him, which should that prove to be the case would leave him scrapping for 3rd place, along with about 4 or 5 others. Button remains a very good driver, but in a world largely determined by millisends, I wonder whether his age might just start to affect his reaction times. I have profited considerably over the last two years in this respect by betting against Schumacher vs Rosberg. Yes the McLaren is likely to show some improvements, but then so are most of its competitors and the team is sure to miss the input of Lewis Hamilton. If I were to back this team in 2013, my money would instead be on Perez, but I can't see anything close to the decimal odds of 24 which Morris was able to obtain on him.

I can well understand Morris not wanting the hassle of recording bets throughout the season (neither would I), but can I suggest some very simple ground rules as regards PBers' tips for each race as well as for the entire season - just in case someone at some stage wishes to report on the relative success of their or others' bets either for a particular GP or the season to date:

A maximum of 10 points (no minimum) to be suggested on each Grand Prix to be allocated between one and a maximum three different bets, with a minimum of two points and a maximum of five points to be invested on each bet.

A maximum of 20 points (no minimum) to be suggested on season long bets, comprising between one and three bets, with a minimum of four points and a maximum of ten points invested on each bet.

What do people think?

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I was fortunate to get 24 matched (for a very small sum) on Betfair.

On rules, I'm fairly open-minded, to be honest. The points thing doesn't arise for me because I use the same stake throughout a season for every bet I tip (with rare half-stake exceptions usually backing two drivers from the same team at better odds than the team price).

Anonymous said...

Morris - fair enough, but are you happy for me and others to work within the staking framework I have proposed and if so what would be your fixed stake in terms of points?

Peter from Putney

Anonymous said...

BTW, I've heard from Sporting Index that they will be posting up their season's points spreads for Drivers and Constructors on Monday ..... that should make interesting reading!

Their various markets for the Oz GP taking place on 17 March will appear nearer to the date of the race.

Peter from Putney.

Nigel said...

Gary Anderson sticks his neck out:

"Can Mercedes make a car that is worthy of his talents? I think they've done it this year. Some of the lap times we've seen have already been pretty good, but today he has done a 1:20.5 on soft tyres on a low fuel run. That is a pretty impressive lap time. I think they have the talents to win races and win the championship this year."

Nigel said...

... and a wheel just came off the Ferrari (literally).

I put a couple of quid on Hamilton for fun this morning at 17.5. Wish it had been a couple of hundred.

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Putney, if you and others want to operate within those rules that's cool.

Mr. Nigel, I just read that comment. Hamilton's odds have dropped to 13. Might put a tiny sum on.

Morris Dancer said...

Oh, and another thought on Mercedes/Hamilton: they tend to develop relatively poorly.

If Hamilton's doing well after the first 4-8 races I'd be looking to hedge.

Nigel said...

"Oh, and another thought on Mercedes/Hamilton: they tend to develop relatively poorly."

That was true last season, but was pretty well inevitable considering the mistake they made in opting for the DDRS. Most of their development effort went into trying to sort out the inherent inadequacies of the system.
Given the lack of testing these days, if you don't start with the right platform, you're never going to catch up.

Mercedes have the resources to develop the car as well as any of the top teams (and probably better than, say, Lotus).

Morris Dancer said...

That's a good point, but it's commonly thought they'll be more biased towards the 2014 car. They may amend that plan should Hamilton be contending for the title, but if it's very close with many others or he's not quite there then 2014 could well be the focus of development.

Nigel said...

If they are anywhere near the front after the first couple of races, I think Mercedes will fund whatever is necessary.
They are not going to throw away a chance to win a year earlier than they thought possible - after all, that's why they are in the game.

(And if they are at the front, they will probably be as surprised as everyone else.)

Morris Dancer said...

Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are also not short of cash, though.

Incidentally, if they did win this year it'd be interesting to see whether Brawn would end up being axed for Lowe.

Anonymous said...

Nigel - that's a good bet on Lewis at 17.5. Realistically however, it may prove more prudent to back him to finish in the top 3 and here Corals' generous odds of 5.0 (i.e. 4/1) appear out of kilter with the market, being 72% higher than Betfair's current net odds of 2.32/1. Indeed they are well above the one fifth e.w. element of Coral's own win odds of 14/1, i.e. 2.8/1. I doubt therefore that this price will last long.

I've also had a modest e.w. punt on Lewis at 16/1 with Hills in the opening Oz GP - if he's going to make any major impression , I fancy he'll do so early in the season.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

On development, it's worth mentioning that the season, as usual, can be cut into chunks where you'd expect significant changes to be attempted.

There are initial fly-away races, far from the European HQs and factories of the teams. Upgrades will be attempted but significant ones will be trickier due to transportation (as well as the necessary time to dream up and manufacture the parts).

Then there's a cluster of European races with a mid-season interval, after which significant changes may occur.

The season ends with more fly-aways, but a bigger problem for upgrades may well be the divergence of development between 2013 and next year when the regulations change substantially.

Anonymous said...

I've just been looking at the final Drivers' table for 2012 and it's possible to make a case for 8 of the top 10 drivers then to score fewer points in 2013 than they did last year - the exceptions being Rosberg assuming the Mercedes' performance has indeed improved significantly and Perez following his move to McLaren:

Vettel ......... 281
Alonso ......... 278
Raikonnen ...... 207
Hamiltom ....... 190
Button ......... 188
Webber ......... 179
Massa .......... 122
Grosjean ....... 96
Rosberg ........ 93
Perez .......... 66

Incidentally, in my opinion, Rosberg looks fair value at 12/1 with Corals for a top 3 finish, certainly compared with say the measly 11/2 they offer for Massa.
It will be interesting to see how the spread-betting firms rate Rosberg's and Perez's prospects when they post their points spreads tomorrow. I am expecting both drivers to be pitched around 40-50 points behind Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, their respective team mates. Any more than that and there could just be some value in backing one or other of these two drivers, always bearing in mind that Perez is more of an unknown quantity.
The water is muddied somewhat by the uncertainty concerning the prospects for the New York GP (or its possible Mexico City replacement) actually being run in mid June - the timetable is now looking tight unless this is decided in the very near future - does anyone have an update on this?

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Not tempted by Rosberg for top 3 at those odds (or, perhaps, any odds).

His team mate is likely to be better, and then there's the likes of Raikkonen, Vettel, Alonso and maybe Grosjean, the McLaren drivers and Massa to contend with. If Massa keeps the form he had at the end of last year he could be at the sharp end more often than not.

Hmm. I thought New York had been definitely delayed until 2014 with a potential question mark over that too. The TBA slot is still to be filled and probably won't be.

Nigel said...

Interesting how Alonso is chasing Rosberg's times this morning - followed him out three times for quick runs on the softs.

It gives the impression that maybe Ferrari aren't sandbagging, and Mercedes are competitive ?

Morris Dancer said...

BBC live feed suggests that those two (Ferrari and Mercedes) have shown their true pace, whereas McLaren and Red Bull have not.

Anonymous said...

Morris - we're just going to have to seriously disagree about Rosberg's prospects.

He comfortably out-pointed Schumacher (arguably the greatest driver the sport has ever seen)in each of the last 3 years .... no mean feat.

Yes, he's German, but I don't believe Mercedes would have retained him if they didn't believe he was top drawer. In a decent car, I see him as definitely being top 6 material and 12/1 is a very big price for him finishing in the top 3.

Points wise, I see him winning 150-200 over a 20 race season, meaning he only needs a small nudge upwards to make the top 3.

Sure he faces tough competition from around six other drivers but so too do they!

I'm very happy with my bet on him and coupled with Lewis Hamilton's prospects, I've also had a fiver on Mercedes winning the Constructors' title at 25/1 with Hills (now 20/1) - great value on what we've seen so far. Probably more like a 12/1 - 15/1 shot at best imo.

Everything in betting is about value and that's what I believe I have here - in spades!

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

Last season Schumacher had appalling reliability. He would've been leading the title race after 7 races if his car hadn't kept exploding (I think that includes the Senna crash, which was Schumacher's fault).

He also was not the same driver as he was in his initial career. I do, however, agree that assessing Rosberg is tricky.

I'd be surprised, though, if he finished top 3, unless the Mercedes has a substantial performance advantage.

Anyway, I won't be betting seriously until Oz. Still hoping that Mr. Max's chum can offer us some insight.

Oh, and great idea to call for a pre-season discussion thread, Mr. Putney.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to Sporting's opening spread prices on Drivers' Points the forthcoming F1 season, based on a 19 GP programme compared with 20 GPs in 2012:

Any views on any drivers'points tallies you disagree with will be gratefully received.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

You probably recall this already, but I don't and won't be spread betting, so take any thoughts on that with a pinch of salt.

Raikkonen may be a small buy at 162. I think he's clockwork, based on last year, though I think the Lotus has gone wrong a few times.

If you really think Mercedes are up there, and they may be, then Rosberg at 128 could be good. The Mercedes appears, after the first days of the first test, to be pretty solid reliability wise too.

Hmm. Hmmington Hmmlberry. This is a bit out there, especially for me, but Bottas at 34 could be worth a look. Despite a cracking season compared to 2012 the Williams team actually really underperformed. Maldonado's a lunatic and Senna was slow. The car apparently looks quite good, and the risk is lower because the points tally is so low. If the car is better than last year's and Bottas is decent (and I have the feeling he will be) that could be my favourite pick.

Incidentally, I've pencilled in the 12th for the pre-race discussion thread for Oz.

Anonymous said...

Morris - please understand that I really, really do understand that you don't engage in spread-betting and you will never do so! I included the link to Sporting's prices on Drivers' points solely to invite your and others' comments on whether PBers agreed or otherwise on their assessments of each driver's prospects.

As I've previously stated, I far prefer to sell rather than buy drivers' points, particularly at or before the start of a new F1 season when there are so many uncertainties, e.g an under-developed/under-performing car, or where the driver may lose points as a result of collisions, suspensions and/or God forbid injuries.

Based on Sporting's opening prices, I believe there may be some scope on the downside in the case of Seb Vettel where I expect the competition may be stronger from the other leading teams, including McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes.

Last season he scored 281 points from 20 Grand Prix, equivalent to 267 points from this season's 19 race programme. My target is for him to under-perform his adjusted tally for 2012 by between 15%-20%, thereby resulting in him securing between 214-227 points, resulting in my making a profit of between 13-26 points by laying him at 240 points. I've had a down bet with Sporting for £3 a point - my thinking is to close the bet were I able to show a profit of £90 or thereabouts, i.e at or around the 210 points level or were I facing a loss of a similar amount at around the 270 points mark.

On the buy side of things, I agree with your comments as regards Bottas. If he and his car prove to be half decent, he should be capable of garnering around 50 points over the season.

I've therefore bought him at 34 points for £3 per point and my aim therefore would be to sell him at around the 50 point level to realise a £45 profit or conversely to close this bet at around the 20 point mark thereby limiting my losses to a similar level.

Overall, I'll be very disappointed should these two bets not produce a worthwhile profit overall.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

Ha, I must admit I was slightly tempted by the Bottas figures.

Hmm. You could be right about Vettel, but it'd be a brave man to bet that way given his talent and the Red Bull's strength over recent years. Last year also included him losing a hefty chunk (maybe 30+) from reliability failures [the alternator].

Anyway, best of luck :)

Nigel said...

Gary Anderson's latest analysis has the four leading teams absurdly close:

I have to say that I'm a little skeptical that it's going to be quite that close at Melbourne. Puts an interesting spin on the widely varying odds, though - and backs up the sell Vettel idea.

Red Bull should still have some advantage at the high downforce tracks - all the other drivers and most commentators seem to think so - but being optimised for that might cost them elsewhere.

And I expect McLaren to have a relatively weak early season (Melbourne, as always being a bit of a lottery, however), picking up strongly thereafter.
They and Ferrari don't seem to have quite sorted the car balance, and the fragile Pirellis will continue to penalise that.

(btw, the Honda deal for 2015 is great news.)

Anonymous said...

As usual, Spreadex lag Sporting in issuing their spread prices .... it will be interesting to see where any small differences exist between their drivers' points spreads. I'll be tempted to top up on my lay of Vettel should their price come in any higher.

I'd love to have bought Hamilton and/or Rosberg but so much of the anticipated improvement by the Mercedes team is already assumed in the spread prices that fixed odds betting is probably preferable in their case.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

Red Bull will gain more than they lose, though. Downforce is king when it comes to pace.

This may actually be good for Mercedes, and perhaps Lotus.

Cheers for the Anderson link.

Anonymous said...

Spreadex have posted up their opening spread prices this morning, just one day after Sporting ..... well ain't that a surprise, always the follower, never the leader:

They go 238 to SELL Vettel, compared with Sporting's 240 and 37 to BUY Bottas, compared with Sporting's 34, so fortunately I was right in both instances to go with Sporting .....phew, I feel I'm almost in profit already!

Peter from Putney