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F1: Alonso’s replacement – what the markets think


So, if the pundits and insiders haven’t got much news for us on the 2008 F1 drivers’ saga, how about the bookies?

We’ve often been struck how, whether in politics, sport or the outcome of reality TV shows, the markets are brilliant indicators of what’s going to happen. So we thought we’d take a little look at what they have to say about who’s going to end up with which team.


On the strength of this, we’d be inclined to say a Renault/McLaren driver swap seems to be the favoured option. Williams seem to have successfully knocked the Rosberg speculation on the, er, Head. And the only reason Sutil’s getting mentioned is because his mate, one L Hamilton, has kindly decided to give him a bit of a public boost. But do bear in mind that this is our very own interpretation of what is going on and, if it’s accurate at all, it’s accurate at time of writing.

If you fancy a flutter yourself, you’ll need to get up to date information and odds. Or, if you’ve got a different view of what these odds may actually mean, please leave a comment and let’s start a discussion!

  • Ladbrokes has a market on the 2008 driver championship – and what is most interesting is that, while Hamilton and Raikkonen are both on 6/4, and Massa is on 4/1, Alonso is stranded at 12/1. This suggests a feeling that he may not be heading for the most competitive of teams – a tick in the Renault or Red Bull boxes, undoubtedly. Ferrari vs McLaren is clearly still seen as the only game in town. You can put money on Kovalainen at 16/1 and on Rosberg at 20/1 – perhaps suggesting the Finn is the better bet for McLaren, just – before Nick Heidfeld shows up at silly odds of 40/1. Not a glimpse of Adrian Sutil…
  • Over at Coral you won’t find a market dedicated to Alonso’s replacement either – but the odds offered against potential winners of the 2008 drivers’ championship once again give a few hints about who appears on this bookie’s radar. Coral will give you 12/1 against a Kovalainen title but, in common with Ladbrokes, isn’t quoting Fisichella at all. Likewise the 14/1 against Rosberg seems based more on the possibility he’ll be driving at McLaren than making a charge with Williams. Alonso is available at shorter odds than either, 9/1, despite the likelihood that he’ll be in an uncompetitive car. Raikkonen is the 6/4 favourite, with Hamilton at 7/4 and Massa at 4/1. Sutil doesn’t appear in Coral’s odds, unsurprisingly, but two drivers who are quoted suggest the bookie is covering itself against sentimental money – should you wish, you can get 33-1 against the championship being won by either Jenson Button or Michael Schumacher.
  • William Hill (odds given via Guardian Unlimited Sport Betting) has no surprises at the top with Raikkonen on 5/4, Hamilton on 2/1 and Massa at 4/1. Alonso’s odds split the difference here at 10/1 and both Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg are on 14/1. Heidfeld, Button and Kubica are all in the distance with odds between 33/1 and 40/1 but here, once again, the conclusion must be that Rosberg and Kovalainen are really the only serious contenders for the McLaren drive, as it’s unlikely that, with their current teams, they would be likely to so completely overhaul the BMW of Heidfeld.
  • What’s going on at Betfair, where punters bet against each other rather than against the bookmakers themselves? It has markets on where Alonso, Kovalainen, Rosberg and Sutil will start their first race. A quick guide to terminology here – to place a bet you are backing an outcome, to lay a bet you are betting against it. Alonso’s attracting the lion’s share of the money in this market and most of it has lined up behind either Renault or AN Other Constructor – in this case that’s clearly Red Bull. There’s little enthusiasm for any of the other options out there. Kovalainen’s money is split about equally between Renault and McLaren. Some people are interested in laying bets against a McLaren move, but the case of Rosberg it couldn’t be more different. Here the money is firmly behind his staying at Williams, in a sluggish market, possibly due to the intervention of Patrick Head over the weekend. And Sutil? Tipped for Spyker (or Force India, as we must learn to call them). No-one’s seriously backing him for McLaren or anywhere else.
  • And finally… Lewis Hamilton is currently only just better than evens on Unibet for British Sports Personality of the Year, and at 3/1 on over at Paddy Power. Probably a bit late to make money on that one, unless you’ve got a cracking inside track on Calzaghe or Hatton that we just haven’t heard about…


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