The nature of in-running betting on motor racing probably provides the biggest possible swings in fortune, mainly because of the reliability question. Your driver can be leading the field by a minute and cruising to victory, but a telltale puff of smoke from the engine can spell instant disaster and a make-up of zero. That volatility led to one of spread betting’s most apocryphal stories of disaster. An inexperienced IG Index client sold the field in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix expecting the big-names to dominate on a track where overtaking is always difficult.
Selling at just half a point for £500, he expected to guarantee himself an easy £250. Disaster struck, however, when the skies opened, turning the track into a rink and forcing many fancied names out of the race. Olivier Panis won his first and only Grand Prix, another rag came third and the hapless punter lost £18,750. Paul Austin of IG, a big motor racing fan himself, believes that even without suicidal bets, spread bettors face a tough task on Formula One. ‘We think it is the hardest sport to bet on in running.
It is difficult for punters to beat us and it is also one of those sports that does not attract shrewd bettors as such. That is probably because of the luck element. You may think you have an edge, but a crash can take that away from you in an instant.’