Monday, 8 April 2013

China: early discussion

Well, it's three weeks from Malaysia to the next race (this weekend), but I'd be surprised if Webber's best friends forever with Vettel. Given Red Bull appear to be offering no punishment at all Horner looks pretty weak. Even Schumacher obeyed team orders on the rare occasions they were against him (I believe he did this the year he broke his leg and Irvine was Ferrari's hope for the title).

In other news, Claire Williams has been appointed deputy team principal and heir apparent to her father, Sir Frank. However, from what I've read this is not a pat on the head sort of appointment, and she really deserves it. So, in a few years (assuming Kaltenborn still leads Sauber) we could have two female team principals.

Early forecasts all point to the race being dry.

Speculation, opinions, predictions and the like all welcome in the comments. [NB I've been unable to get confirmation, despite asking a few times, that the threads are being monitored by a moderator, although last time round the spam was pleasingly axed pretty quickly].

Morris Dancer


Peter said...

All eyes will be on Vettel - I wonder whether the opprobrium heaped on him after Malaysia will affect him psychologically - he'd have to be a very tough nut for it not to do so, but then again he is probably just that.
The betting markets aren't fully developed yet but I'll be keeping a watch for any decent value over the next 24-48 hours.

Morris Dancer said...

I'm not sure he will.

In terms of psychological strength he's very tough. In 2010 he only led it once, at the end of the season, when he led the race from start to finish.

Mercedes could be the most interesting team to watch. They had their sole victory (in their modern incarnation) there last year and the circuit should be good for their FRIC suspension (keeps the car flatter in corners).

Peter said...

Looking this morning at the odds sheets of the major bookies for the Chinese GP, the single most eye-catching bit of value is probably Webber's price of 9/4 with 888sport for a podium finish. This is a full 50% better than the 6/4 odds on offer from either Ladbrokes or Corals. Not bad for a top 6 driver in what is probably, currently at least, the top car.

It's difficult however to get too enthusiastic about Mark's short term prospects after what happened between him and Vettel in the Malaysian GP.

If you believe, however, that he'll really be fired up as a result, then these look like generous odds.

Nigel said...

Most eye-catching for me is the huge disparity between Alonso and Massa's odds.

Given Massa's rediscovered speed, I can't see that he is five times less likely to get pole. There is also a decent chance that Massa's driving style will benefit him in the race, as China is front tyre limited, and Massa is a bit easier on the fronts than Alonso.

Peter said...

A short-priced bet which really should deliver is the 8/11 (0.73/1) odds available on Perez finishing in the points (i.e. top 10) available with Ladbrokes, SkyBet, etc.

One thing's for sure McLaren didn't hire Sergio to finish well down the field and will expect him to achieve a top 6 finish more times than not, so a huge improvement is required from him and soon.

Button's performance in Malaysia shows how far the car has already improved and it's high time for Perez also to show some decent form.

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Nigel, Massa has outqualified Alonso for the last four races in a row. I'm not sure I believe the Ferrari is quite there in qualifying, but if you think it is (NB the forecast for the whole weekend was entirely dry) then I agree it's insane that Massa's odds are so much longer.

Ladbrokes has a 9/21 difference, but Betfair right now has a massive 8.6/32 difference.

Mr. Putney, I have mixed feelings about that. The non-punishment of Vettel could dismay or fire Webber up. In addition, McLaren sound like they're getting a grip on how things stand and both the Mercedes and Ferrari look good (the Lotus isn't bad either). Pre-qualifying I'm not sure I'd be keen to back at those odds. However, if he qualifies well then it'd look very smart.

Peter said...

Good spot Nigel - with Massa currently available at 28 with Betfair, this appears to have attractive trading potential.

If Felipe makes meaningful progress in the GP itself (say if he's in the first 3 or 4 places and within 10-15 seconds of the race leader) then it should prove possible to trade out of this bet in running at half these odds or less.

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Putney, is the 28 for pole or the win?

[If it's pole then trading out during the race would be optimistic :p ]

On the Perez tip: I think that's very likely to come off, but I'm not fond of such short odds bets (I think the last such I made was a Vettel pole at something like 1.7).

Nigel said...

Have a bit on Massa at around 32 for both pole and the win. Unless Ferrari has gone backwards, that ought to be tradeable.

The news of two DRS zones (and the retention of the one on the huge straight) suggests the three stop sprinters will have the advantage this year.
Vettel FTW ?

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Nigel, isn't there just the one in China?

I had heard the news of most circuits having two, and was a bit surprised to see just one on the diagram. Maybe it's from last year, and will be updated.

I've put a tiny sum on Massa at 32 for pole.

Morris Dancer said...

Sorry, just discovered you're right. The diagram is outdated:

Peter said...

This from today's Daily Telegraph:

While the team [McLaren] acknowledge they have not yet discovered the magic formula to vault them back to the front of the grid, they disclosed on Tuesday that they had found the crucial deficiencies that caused them to take just four points from the first two races.
“We know where the problems are and we are on the right track now,” managing director Jonathan Neale said.

Assuming they are not telling porkies, this backs up my belief that Perez should achieve a top 10 finish as should Button too of course.

I quite like this market in terms of offering value, particularly as regards those drivers just on the margin of achieving a points finish.

Another example has to be the so far under-performing Hulkenberg in his Sauber. We know he's capable of much better things than we've seen from him so far this year and indeed he's tipped to move to one of the top 4 teams before long.
Ranked 13th in this market and offered by Ladbrokes at odds of 2.75(1.75/1) to finish in the top 10, any DNFs by the drivers above him would place him very close to delivering on such a bet

That's probably me all done unless I spot any late value during the practice sessions.

Of course the very best value as usual is probably to back Vettel to win, available earlier today with Betfair at 3.25 = 2.14/1 net in real money, but I've turned against the guy big time and I'll be looking for alternatives for investing my money.

Morris Dancer said...

Don't let your emotions get in the way. If you think Vettel's value at those odds, back him.

Shade harsh on Hulkenberg. He's only started one race, and 8th isn't bad.

Meanwhile, Vettel's decided he doesn't apologise for winning:

Peter said...

Morris - You're right and I had overlooked the Hulk's 8th place, which makes his price of 1.75/1 with Laddies to finish top 10 this weekend look outstanding - I'm topping up!

Morris Dancer said...

Incidentally, Mr. Putney, these early discussion threads are working nicely. Excellent suggestion of yours, they are.

The only bet I've made so far is a tiny one on Massa for pole. Recently he's had the edge on Alonso for pole and a team cannot have a driver hold back in qualifying. In the race, I think Alonso is better anyway and *may* benefit from team orders.

The Hulk (best nickname in F1? Certainly beats Britney) is probably just value at those odds. Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Lotus are all faster, but reliability issues, crashes and cock-ups could help Hulkenberg, who's a pretty handy driver.

Nigel said...

Re the Hulk, you ignored Force India in your calculations. If they've sorted the wheel nuts, they should be up there with the top 5 ahead of Sauber.

That's twelve drivers with potentially faster cars, so although the Hulkster is decent value, he's far from a no brainer.

Morris Dancer said...

Oh yeah. Force India had a very good pace ruined by dodgy pit stops last time (Sutil really has hit the ground running).

Peter said...

Thanks Morris - it's just disappointing that with all the many hundreds or indeed thousands who regularly read PB, there are not at least a few more F1 fans who are prepared to contribute to the debate on PB2.

Peter said...

Picking up on Nigel's earlier comments, Betfair's current net odds against a Massa victory are 35.15/1 (aka 38), precisely ten times those of 3.515/1 (aka 4.7) for his Ferrari team mate.

This seems just plain daft .... unless I'm missing something.

Massa is a top 8 driver in what is currently the 3rd or 4th best car. If the Chinese GP were a horse race, he'd probably be priced at around the 20/1 mark at best, certainly not almost double that!

Nigel said...

The only possible explanation is an assumption by punters that team pit strategy (and possibly team orders) will ensure Alonso finishes in front.

Not entirely unreasonable, but I think even Ferrari would struggle to stop Massa should he qualify well and get a good start which puts him well ahead of Alonso.
I agree that the disparity in odds is simply ridiculous. Is there a race match bet anywhere which reflects this ? I wouldn't mind 10/1 on Massa beating Alonso.

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Putney, whilst more would of course be welcome, I'd sooner have a civilised and pragmatic discussion with three regulars and the occasional iregular than a thread that got bloated with bickering.

I suspect the fact these threads (and posts) are so clearly focused on the gambling aspect might put off some F1 fans who feel that to comment would be to commit to tips and might lose someone money [obviously if you make a bet then the win or loss is down to you, but still].

I think it's debatable, heavily, how good the Ferrari is right now. And, with 3 weeks since the last race, the only certainty is that Webber won't have bought Vettel an Easter egg. Massa's problem in the race is that, typically, Alonso's a bit sharper and team orders may come into play. If Ferrari believe Red Bull have de facto backed Vettel already they may think they have no choice but to do the same with Alonso.

I'd prefer the pole bet. It's impossible to have a driver not try in qualifying, and Massa also seems to have the edge on Alonso there.

Morris Dancer said...

Apparently Red Bull have now decided they're going to have no team orders.

A cynic might say that they'll simply give the upgrades to Vettel 3 races before Webber instead.

Peter said...

Nigel - here are the oddschecker match bet odds you were asking about between the two Ferrari drivers:

Sadly you won't get anything close to 10/1 against Massa, the most generous being 4/1 from BetVictor.

The other three bookies offering this market all make it less than a 2/1 shot that Massa will finish ahead of Alonso ...... meanies!

Morris Dancer said...

Vettel says he would probably disobey orders again:

However, it sounds as if Red Bull won't have them now, and Webber would ignore them as well if they did.

Horner looks pretty damned weak. No punishment for disobeying a direct order and now this.

Nigel said...

"Horner looks pretty damned weak"

He's always given the impression of being more of a PR man than a team leader. Now we'll get to see how good he is in that role.

Of more concern for the Bulls is that it just became a great deal more difficult to manage tactical races.
Neither driver, for instance, is going to voluntarily give up pit stop priority to help out the other (as Webber did at the last stop to allow Vettel to stay ahead of Hamilton).
That may or may not have altered the result in Malaysia, but there will be situations where it will cost the team points.
With the fragile tyres, a race to the finish mentality may cost them wins, too.

If the Bulls haven't retained a big speed advantage in China, it will be time to lay them for the (team) championship.
(I already established a small trading position.)

Morris Dancer said...

Hmm. Brave call to bet against Red Bull given their current standing and recent history.

I might be more inclined to back Ferrari instead.

If Red Bull don't take it then it's down to Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes or McLaren.

I think Ferrari has the best chance of those, because they combine a good car with two drivers who are in great form.

Quick check in Betfair has them at 3.95.

Nigel said...

Looking very interesting for the race.

Two stops looks very doable for some, as the medium tyre can hold up for well over 20 laps (Hamilton is currently on his 27th lap).

Massa has pace !
And seems to be just about the only driver able to make the softs work in race simulation.
Those bets put on yesterday looking tasty.

Webber seems fairly comfortable; Vettel not.

(Fuel level caveats apply, etc.)

Peter said...

Well that proved to be very easy money - after buying Massa at 38 with Betfair yesterday I sold him after P2 this morning at 12.5.

Tasty, very tasty.

Morris Dancer said...

Only caught the back end of P2, but broadly agree.

Lots of the top teams seem pretty similar on the medium tyre. However, the substantial performance gap means it won't be used in qualifying, so it may be that the grid at the start will fairly closely resemble the final result.

Good spot on Massa, Mr. Nigel. Looking to hedge to be evens if he doesn't get pole and ahead if he does. If he gets ahead of Alonso and there are a few cars between them, he may even have a chance of victory.

Nigel said...

"the substantial performance gap means it won't be used in qualifying"

I'm not sure about that.
Leaders qualifying on the softs are going to be vulnerable to those behind on mediums, as the drop off in lap times on the soft is extreme, and the it won't last long enough to get ahead of the pack for the first pitstop (particularly as it will have been abused in qualifying).
Locking up the softs looks to be sufficient to completely destroy them.

I think teams will think long and hard about which tyre to run in Q3, and if they're not serious pole competitors might not run at all in P3, starting on the mediums (I expect Button, for instance to try this assuming he get through to final quali.).
The race is going to be a two stopper for several teams, and running medium-medium-soft could be the optimal strategy.

Also bear in mind that for a car with pace, overtaking is relatively easy with the two DRS zones.

Agree about hedging Massa.
He is certainly a contender, but not dead cert.

Need to see what the Red Bulls can do in third practice.

Perez seriously unimpressive today.
Hulkenberg looking OK, especially since he was held up on his quick lap.