I’ve heard it said that the winner of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne is very often the man who becomes world champion – which would be good news for Lewis Hamilton.
It seemed an easy theory to test out so I totted up the numbers and found it is a very good indicator of who will win the championship: but two other races are just as good.
The Australian Grand Prix moved to Melbourne and its season-opening slot in 1996. Since then it has accurately predicted the champion on eight occasions including the last two years – a 66% strike rate. The winners were:
- 1996: Damon Hill
- 1998: Mika Hakkinen
- 2000: Michael Schumacher
- 2001: Michael Schumacher
- 2002: Michael Schumacher
- 2004: Michael Schumacher
- 2006: Fernando Alonso
- 2007: Kimi Raikkonen
No race that has been on the calendar since then has been won by the eventual champion of a given year as many times. But two other races tie with the Australian round: the Spanish and Japanese Grands Prix.
Of course not all the tracks currently on the calendar have been there since 1996. So of the new additions, which is performing best? The Bahrain Grand Prix, which has accurately predicted the champion on three of four occasions.
Contrarily, which races are the worst indicators of eventual champions? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s two of F1’s oldest and most diametrically different venues: Monza and Monte-Carlo.
Monte-Carlo, the slowest and tightest track on the calendar, has only been won by the eventual champion three times in the last 12 years: Hakkinen in 1998, Schumacher in 2001 and Alonso in 2006.
And ultra-fast Monza has only been won by the eventual champion twice in the same time: Schumacher in 2000 ans 2003.
What can we make of this? Not much, but it might be of interest to gamblers…