For the majority of motorsport fans the real countdown is on to the new Formula One series which begins at the end of March. In the meantime, many other events are already underway and one of the more curious of these is Formula E.
In many ways, when you look at one of the cars involved, it resembles an F1 vehicle right down to tiny details but the difference is that it’s all-electric. As the name suggests, Formula E is a rather more environmentally friendly way of motor racing.
The 2017-18 campaign has been up and running for a few weeks now so let’s take a look at the standings along with the betting options for this season.
With electric car technology developing at a fast pace, FIA organisers saw the opportunity to introduce a brand new area of motorsport and in 2014/15, the first ever series of Formula E hit the tracks.
Twenty drivers took part, representing ten teams and they competed in ‘E-Prix’ on circuits similar, or in some cases, identical to, their Formula One counterparts. At the end of that campaign, Nelson Piquet Jr emerged as the champion, winning by one point from Sebastien Buemi in a thrilling climax to the campaign. Buemi earned revenge by claiming the title the following season and in 2016/17, Lucas Di Grassi was crowned champion. Now we arrive at the current season of Formula E so who is literally in pole position?
The 2017/18 season has expanded to cover twelve races and at the time of writing, five of these have already been completed. Currently, the man at the top of the Drivers’ Championship is Jean-Eric Vergne who has won one of the E-Prix so far, in Chile. Vergne has a 12 point lead over Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist who has two wins and then we move down to Britain’s Sam Wall and the Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi in third and fourth respectively.
That leaves us with seven races still to be run so there is plenty of time for those positions to change but what do the odds setters make of it all?
Electric Cars may be the future but the bookmakers have yet to fully get behind the concept of Formula E. However, both Ladbrokes and Coral have a full market and we can generally trust that their prices will be competitive no matter what sport is involved.
Current favourite for the Drivers Champions is our league leader Jean-Eric Vergne who is available at best odds of 7/4 with both Ladbrokes and Coral. Vergne has that solitary win in the season so far but a series of podium finishes give him that 12 point lead in the table.
That could be a significant number as we reach the halfway point in this campaign and behind Vergne we have Sweden’s Rosenqvist who Coral and Ladbrokes have listed at 5/2. The other drivers to have won a race so far this season are Sam Bird and Germany’s Daniel Abt and naturally they both feature in the betting. Bird is at 6/1 but Abt is way down the list at 20/1 with both Coral and Ladbrokes quoting those prices once again.
Bird has been the more consistent of the two, staying in touch with the top of the table thanks to other high finishes while Abt’s win in Mexico City was something of an anomaly and the German has, in fact, only finished three of the five E-Prix to have taken place so far.
The three men who have won Formula E World Championships are all taking part again this season although only Sebastien Buemi is really in touch with the leader at this stage of the competition. The Swiss driver is finding some form after a slow start to the campaign and comes into the next race with a second, third and a third place in his last three outings.
As a result, Buemi is getting some interest at a price of 11/2 with both Ladbrokes and Coral. Formula E’s first ever winner Nelson Piquet Jr is on offer at 12/1 while Lucas Di Grassi is out at 25/1.
Those are, really, the main contenders for the title this year but there are some familiar names in the chasing pack, some of whom will be recognisable to F1 fans. Nick Heidfeld is on offer at 50/1 while Nicolas Prost carries a famous surname and is available at 150/1. Once again, all of those prices can be picked up with either Coral or Ladbrokes.
While each Formula E season does have a separate Team Championship, there is no available betting market so for long term bets, we can focus solely on the list of drivers. When each E-Prix comes around, there should be a winner’s market for each race but once again, it’s likely that Ladbrokes and Coral will be the only bookies taking part.
Back to the Championship itself and it’s natural that the current leader would be the favourite to take the title. In five races so far, Jean-Eric Vergne has finished no worse than fifth and it’s that consistency that gives the Frenchman a healthy lead of 12 points as we approach the halfway mark in 2017/18.
Behind the leader, Sam Bird was going well until finishing way down the list in 17th place in Mexico City so the British driver certainly shouldn’t be ruled out. Overall, Formula E is still finding its way as a sport so it can be open and unpredictable just like the driver who really interests us.
In five outings so far, Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist has two wins and a fourth place but either side of that, the 26 year old had a 14th, before retiring in Mexico City last time out. The key to Vergne’s success has been that consistency and if Rosenqvist can find that, both as a driver and in the reliability of his car, he has the talent and pedigree to give a nice profit at decent odds of 5/2 with either Ladbrokes or Coral.