Formula One Betting Tips: 10 Things You Must Know Before Betting On The Australian Grand Prix

Formula One's record-breaking 21-race season begins at Melbourne this weekend. If you're taking a punt, here's what you need to know:

1. Mercedes are still in crushing form...

The team's new W07 chassis covered over 6,000 kilometres in testing: over 2,000km more than Ferrari. The team stayed off the highest-performing tyres yet set fast lap times with ease.

2. ...but Lewis Hamilton might not be

The world champion's team mate Nico Rosberg ended last year on a roll with three wins and six pole positions in a row. Nonetheless, Hamilton is the favourite for pole this weekend, on 2.00 to Rosberg's 2.20.

3. Ferrari are pulling out all the stops

The Italian team is widely considered the best hope to take the fight to Mercedes. They were quickest in testing with the new SF16-H which features more aggressive aerodynamics and revised front suspension. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel is pushing them hard: no wonder he's the non-Mercedes favourite to win on 6.50.

4. Toro Rosso should hit the ground running

Italy's other F1 team has one of the most exciting young driver pairings on the grid featuring the highly-rated teenager Max Verstappen. Reliability problems blighted them last year, but with a fast and reliable Ferrari motor behind them they could now be podium contenders. Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr are on 15.00 this weekend.

5. Tough times at Renault and Honda

F1 is cheering the return of Renault as a full team but the top staff say podiums won't happen until 2018. And while Honda appear to have made gains with their engine over the winter they and McLaren are still a long way from the sharp end.

6. No more Maldonado

F1's crash king lost his seat over the winter. The odds on a Safety Car appearance are bound to get longer.

7. There's three new faces...

Jolyon Palmer is the son of an ex-F1 driver and won the GP2 feeder series two years ago and is considered a safe pair of hands in the second Renault. Manor has an all-new pairing of Mercedes-backed Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto: Indonesia's first F1 driver.

8. ...and one new team

Haas, F1's first new team for six years, have Ferrari power and impressed in testing. The rapid Romain Grosjean could well be among the points finishers.

9. Qualifying has been shaken up

Drivers will now be knocked out every 90 seconds during qualifying. But this latest tweak to the rules is expected to make little difference to the starting grid.

10. Watch out for Melbourne madness

The parkland Albert Park circuit is not typical of most tracks on the calendar. It's a temporary venue and one which tends to catch out the unwary.

The first race of the season often throws up surprises too. Last year five cars were on the sidelines before the race even started, and the year before that rookie Kevin Magnussen scored a remarkable second place on his debut.


Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic