Adjudication Case Studies - Formula One : Settlement Tips

With the new Grand Prix season now underway would-be backers should be aware of a few problems which could arise when placing wagers in the numerous markets available.

A disputed matter that has arisen previously has been what exactly signifies the start of a race. Some bookmakers state that the start of the formation lap in a Formula One race is deemed to be the start of the race. However, the official rules of the FIA, the governing body for Formula One, make it clear that as far as they are concerned the start of the race occurs once all cars have returned to the grid after the formation lap and the starting procedure has been executed. If a company does not have a rule to cover this situation then the rules of the FIA will determine settlement.

This Service has received a number of disputes in the past where customers have taken odds from the Racing Post prior to the qualifying sessions. The customers, in each instance, expected those odds to still be relevant, even though their bets were placed after the sessions. This is obviously not the case as qualifying will determine pole positions, which will have a direct effect on the market for the race. Therefore it is imperative to ensure that the odds you are accepting are still on offer and relevant to the intended prediction.

Disagreement in the settlement of match bets has arisen in the past when a driver has withdrawn during or after the formation lap. Bettors are warned that it is the norm that once a driver in a match bet starts the warm-up lap then his subsequent withdrawal, for whatever reason, would not classify him as a non-runner. Another problem this Service adjudicated upon previously has been how a classification is achieved, especially when drivers can be given a placement even though they retired before the end of the race.

It is the normal practice among bookmakers that a driver completing at least 90 per cent of the race distance will be given a classification. All cars will be classified taking into account the number of complete laps they have covered. Cars which have covered less than 90 per cent of the laps covered by the winner will not be classified.

Backers are also reminded that, for the purpose of bet settlement, the result is defined by the podium ceremony. This has been adopted by the gambling industry as the equivalent to the 'weigh-in' in horseracing or the 'green light' in greyhound racing. Even if the result of a race is altered following a subsequent enquiry into an infringement of the rules, the podium positions stand as the basis for settling bets.

Virtually all bookmakers stipulate this in their rules. The reason bookmakers settle on the podium position is to give a definite cut-off so that both they and their customers know the criteria for bet settlement.

The settlement of multiple bets which are related, where one prediction has a direct bearing on the result of the other, has also created debate in the past.

Such a case would be nominating a driver to be 'fastest qualifier' and the same driver to 'win the Grand Prix'. These are clearly related as the driver's chances of winning the race would be greatly enhanced by his starting from the front of the grid. In most cases this would not be a valid proposition and would be settled as singles, unless the company were offering a pre-determined price for this eventuality.


It is the normal practice amongst all bookmakers to have provision in their Rules that bets on Motor Racing are settled on the official FIA result at the time of the podium ceremony. The podium result acts as a kind of "weigh in" for Motor Racing.

At the Belgium Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was named the winner on the day and therefore bookmakers paid out on him as the winner for betting purposes. Felipe Massa was subsequently instated as the winner due to Hamilton receiving a 25 second penalty and although some bookmakers decided to pay out on him too on an ex-gratia basis, this did not obligate all others to following suit.

The Panel therefore confirm that this bet has been correctly settled as a loser in accordance with the company's rules.

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