Sebastian Vettel will start to the 2013 Formula One season as the favourite with Ladbrokes to win his fourth straight Drivers’ Championship.
The reigning champion can be backed at 11/8 to pick up another title in the forthcoming F1 campaign, and on last year’s form it would be tough to argue against the German.
Vettel is tied fourth in the all-time winners list, one behind Frenchman Alain Prost, two behind Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina and four off his compatriot Michael Schumacher who raised the bar with seven successes.
The 25-year-old is a good bet to add to his trophy haul over the remainder of his career, and the Red Bull driver could well make it four in a row this season.
The main threat standing between Vettel and glory in 2013 appears to be Fernando Alonso, as the 31-year-old targets a hat-trick of titles for himself after coming first in 2005 and 2006.
In the end Alonso finished just three points behind Vettel last year, but the gap was wider in truth as the Spaniard failed to win any of his last 10 races while the German topped the charts in four successive tracks in the second half of the season.
Nonetheless the Ferrari driver is set to return stronger this season, and at a pre-season price of 11/4 he is well worth considering.
Next on the list of potential winners is Englishman Jenson Button, who won his maiden F1 title in 2009 when driving for Brawn.
Button has since switched to Mclaren, and will be partnered by emerging star Sergio Perez this campaign after former team-mate Lewis Hamilton left for Mercedes.
That switch has caused Button’s odds to lower to 5/1, while his new Mexican colleague is a lengthy 14/1 – the same price as Hamilton.
Hamilton has already conceded that his Mercedes car is not fast enough to compete for victories in earnest ahead of the season commencing in the middle of March, while Button has admitted his team are still getting to grips with their new vehicle.
Perez on the other hand has been referred to as ‘The Mexican Wunderkind’ but the 23-year-old came in 16th and most recently 10th in his only two Formula One charges so far.
It may be unrealistic to suggest that any of these three are serious challengers for the title therefore given their respective issues, and Kimi Raikkonen is also a relative shot in the dark at 11/1.
Mark Webber challenged in past years, but at 20/1 looks unlikely to rival the heavyweights this season, while Fernando Massa is priced at 40/1 and both Nico Rosberg and Roman Grosjean are 50/1 bets.
While there may not be great profit to be had on backing Vettel before the campaign starts – which also tends to throw up changes in fortunes as drivers get accustomed to new cars and techniques – the Heppenheim-born racer could continue his irresistible form and keep on rewriting the history books.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.