Should Glock’s bet on Vettel be allowed?

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A surprising detail to emerge from today’s press conference was that Timo Glock has bet money on Sebastian Vettel winning the drivers championship on Sunday.

Glock wouldn’t reveal how much money was riding on the outcome, saying: “I have my money on him to win the championship this weekend so he has to push for it.”

Competitors in other sports have been banned for betting on their rivals. Should F1 drivers be allowed to?

For

What’s the harm in allowing a driver to take a punt on a rival?

Just because they have a stake in another driver winning does not mean they would do something to influence the outcome.

Glock and Vettel race at opposite ends of the field in F1, so it makes little difference if the Virgin driver has a wager on the outcome of the championship.

Against

When sportsmen bet on their rivals, the accusation that they will rig an event to ensure they win the bet cannot be far behind.

While Glock may not be in a position to take points off Vettel’s rivals there are obviously ways he could affect the race, particularly when his Virgin is being lapped.

None of this is to say that Glock would do such a thing. But he – or another driver in the same position – could do. And, as we’ve seen in the past at this very circuit, some drivers will try to manipulate races for their own reasons.

I say

I don’t think this is something Glock or any other driver should do. The potential for abuse and accusations of race-fixing are too great.

Clearly Vettel does not need any outside assistance to win the title this year. But if Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button were to collide with Glock while lapping him, even if it was entirely innocent, the knowledge of Glock’s wager would raise difficult questions.

To put it another way, imagine if Vitaly Petrov had bet money on Vettel winning the championship before last year’s title decider.

This is a fundamental matter of sporting ethics. Football, cricket, rugby and other sports have been dogged by betting scandals which have seen players fined, suspended, banned and even threatened with jail.

In F1, article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code forbids “act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally”. This seems like exactly the sort of thing that clause should prevent.

You say

Should drivers be allowed to be on each other? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should F1 drivers be allowed to bet on each other?

  • Yes (15%)
  • No (78%)
  • No opinion (7%)

Total Voters: 275

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144 comments on Should Glock’s bet on Vettel be allowed?

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  1. Dougy_D (@dougy_d) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:19

    No way should any one be allowed to bet in a category they are involved in.

    On the other hand, I think his comments have been taken out of context. I’m sure he would not be stupid enough to do this.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:23

      I think his comments have been taken out of context.

      He said, unprompted, that he had money on Vettel to win the title. You can read the excerpt via the link in the article.

      • Scootin159 (@scootin159) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:40

        It’s possible from the way he worded his answer in the press conference that he doesn’t actually have a bet placed – “I have my money on…” is a common phrase outside of a betting context. The fact that he didn’t mention the exact amount, or confirm with the reporter supports this, but at the same time it’s telling that he didn’t explicitly deny the bet when given follow-up questions.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2011, 18:10

          Given how specific he was (“this weekend”), and how he didn’t make use of any of Rosberg’s questions to say he was joking (as you say), and the phrasing of Rosberg’s question which suggests he already knew about the bet, I think you have to go a long way not to take his word on it.

          But even if it does turn out this was a clumsy figure of speech, I think it’s a debate worth having. As another comment below points out, other F1 drivers have done similar things in the past.

          • Just think abt the awkward position he would have been if he said he has placed his bet on lewis winning the title in 2008 brazilian GP. Lewis passed him in the last lap last corner and there would have been an outcry after the race

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2011, 18:29

          OK I’ve just had an email back from Virgin confirming Glock wasn’t joking, he has made a bet.

          • The bet could be a friendly wager of 100 Euros with his friends. No details were mentioned about the size of the bet, so I guess we cannot commit to the seriousness of his actions.

            If it was a sizeable bet placed with bookies, its a different story. Then I would completely be against it, but for now, I’m neutral

          • I think if it’s a small amount, like $50, yeah they should have a bit of fun. But if it’s any significant amount of money it’s very bad.

            However, I doubt Glock would be stupid enough to announce it like this if he had bet a large amount.

            I don’t have a problem with this.

          • Having thought about it I’d add, Although I don’t have a specific problem with it, I think it puts Glock in a very dangerous position.

          • Macca (@macca) said on 23rd September 2011, 8:30

            From reading the press conference it looks pretty clear to me that it is just clumsy language on Timo’s part, I don’t think he has put a bet on.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd September 2011, 8:37

            Yes he has, see my previous comment.

          • paulipedia (@paulipedia) said on 23rd September 2011, 10:27

            I think it depends on the size of the wager i.e Trading Palces

      • when people say “i have my money on…” it is usually just a figure of speech, it does not mean they actually put money on a bet, but reading the rest of his comment suggests he actually did make a bet.

      • Maybe we shouldn’t take this phrase literally. It could mean that he’s sure that Vettel’s gonna win. There’s no proof anywhere that Timo actually made a bet, I think that he just tried to joke and now everyone is gonna stirr up on this.

        Should F1 drivers be allowed to bet on each other? – Of course not, and I think the reason in very clear. Back-grid drivers could make a living from betting by deciding the winner under the blue flags “Oooops, I spun while yielding”.

    • It has happened in tennis and it’s not a good thing.

      • before professionalism in tennis, it was de rigeur for players not only to bet on themselves but to hustle for better odds.

        it’s clearly not ideal. i remember eddie jordan bet £2000 on frentzen winning at monza in 1999, and no one seemed too bothered then because he was betting on himself/his team.

    • What drivers say and what they have actually done are often very different.

      I bet the FIA went to him afterwards and asked if that was true, and he replied “HAHA ARE YOU KIDDING? OF COURSE NOT! I just said that for the camera”.

  2. PedroCandeias (@pedrocandeias) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:20

    Sportsmen should never ever be allowed to place wagers in the events they compete in, for reasons which are exceedingly well known.

  3. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:21

    My original thought was “what’s the harm, they’re nowhere near each other” then I remembered that they’ll be passing each other on track more than most people, so anything that can be seen as blocking one driver more than another is going to raise flags.

    It’s probably only a friendly £10 bet, but still it should definitely be frowned on

  4. Been through the debat with football players, Hockey players and even tennis players and golf stars before. Answer stays a clear no.

    As Keith writes, even if they would not think of influencing the results, it can always leave a bad taste and raise questions about how the sport works.
    Not to mention that I think betting is as little to be encouraged as is smoking, dangerous driving or drug abuse.

    In Glocks case, might it have also been a reference to their team sponsor, doesn’t Virgin have an internet betting company between their sponsors? Or was that just an internet stock trader.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:29

      They were sponsored by a poker website and a currency trading company last year, but I don’t see the logos of either of those on their car any more.

      • Flutter F1 said on 22nd September 2011, 19:53

        If I remember correctly it was Full Tilt who have not covered themselves in glory..
        BBC News Full Tilt Story

        You raise a good question and this is something I have kept an eye on over the years. However the drivers are just the tip of the iceberg. Think of all the mechanics, the strategists etc – all of them can bet on the opposition and are open to potential conflicts of interest should they place a bet.

        I personally would be against all F1 personnel betting on F1, but its not something you can legislate.
        The thing is, we are talking about people who have worked hard to get where they are. These are passionate people who take what they do seriously. If they are willing to carry out an act that would benefit a bet they’ve placed, no amount of legislation would avoid that situation (there are plenty of ways to get around it). At the end of the day there will always be ‘bad eggs’ about who’s going to cheat or scam there way to a beneficial outcome. There were no bets involved in Renaults’ Singapore antics, although if there were I imagine the headlines would have slated ‘gambling’ and how ‘evil’ it was. So the question ‘Should F1 drivers be allowed to bet on each other?’ is really no different to ‘Should F1 drivers be allowed to cheat?’. Of course, the answer is no!

        • Flutter F1 said on 22nd September 2011, 20:01

          Let me rephrase that last bit! If you say no to ‘Should F1 drivers be allowed to bet on each other?’, then what you are saying is really no different to ‘Should F1 drivers be allowed to cheat?’. If you don’t believe they would cheat, then there is no problem with them having a bet. Get me?

        • Well Flutter F1 you raise an interesting question, and I think your notion about it not being allowed to bet should be for the whole team indeed.

          You say there was no betting on that 2008 Singapore race. But honestly we don’t have a clue about that, as no one researched it.

          Just think about how the recent cases of fixed matches in European and Turkish football were uncovered after following amounts betted on lower level games in Asia. Possibly if anyone had bothered to look at that we would have known about this having been a fixed race much earlier!

          I think we can be certain, that a considerable proportion of viewership in China and Asia actually is about betting, just look at the amount of streams offered by betting sites.

      • I think it was indeed FXpro – currency trading company and Full Tilt poker website (thank you Flutter F1 for giving details on them).

        From what that BBC link shows, its clear why Full Tilt was not seen on the cars since, I do not know when FX pro dropped off, but they do not list either as a team partner on the Virgin site anymore.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd September 2011, 1:41

          I think the episode with Full Tilt Poker scared a lot of sponsors off. Oxigen, Carbon Green, and a few other sponsors have disappeared from the car, too. So had Clear shampoo (I’ve always through “shampoo” is a hilarious word, like “marzipan”), but they were one of Lucas di Grassi’s sponsors.

          Judging by the article Flutter posted, it wasn’t really Virgin’s fault that they took money from an illegal gambling operation. From the sounds of things, a lot of people got conned by it, including big-name poker stars. For an operation like that to have lasted as long as it did, it had to be very well structured. It’s a bit like Daniel Tzvetkoff, who ran Intabet in Australia. He sponsored an independent V8 Supercar team, IntaRacing, then got himself arrested (and it let to VESA revoking four Racing Entitlement Contracts because they were scared that smaller teams might align themselves with naughty folk for sponsorship to stay afloat).

          • Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 23rd September 2011, 10:23

            Full Tilt poker was one of the more reputable poker sites and as you say, they were endorsed by many professionals. So yeah, pretty much everyone was conned.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:24

    Pretty unanimous so far. All 7 votes say no, including mine. I doubt Glock would do anything to warrant a favourable outcome but Keith said it best with his reference to Petrov last year.

    Not acceptable, in my opinion.

    • I guess Alonso wouldn’t bet on Vettel winning because he wishes to beat him on track, and he wouldn’t give up positions to win his bet.
      Glock probably wanted to have fun betting on the results of the top drivers, without thinking that he has the potential to influence the race outcome. If something happens with him favouring Vettel most people will think he did it on purpose, so betting on the sport you’re in should be banned.

  6. LSL1337 (@lsl1337) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:25

    Well, interesting question, but Glock doesn’t rly have any influence over the title in that car. And why would he say anything if he wanted to *fix the race? again, not like he has much to do about it, and even if he had, the onboards, and telemetry would show it clearly, like 2 years ago, it’s just that it wasn’t investigated right after the race. So why rob him of the opportunity to bet on this sport? :), On the other hand, where would you draw the line, what if alonso would make a bet?, IMO he has the most chance (around 0,1%:)) to keep the championship alive, so if he would bet as Glock, he could somewhat change the outcome, but these are very unlikely scenarios, and i don’t think fernando has money problems with his contract. Every point worth much more prestige, than what he would win. So i say, let them, it’s not like a boxing game, or even a goalkeeper

    • but you did not cast a vote, right? As there are no “Yes” votes so far.

    • Ragerod said on 22nd September 2011, 19:26

      Anyone directly involved in the sport should not be allowed to bet on it so that includes engineers, press officers even the truck drivers.

    • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 23rd September 2011, 1:41

      It’s all well and good to say that Glock can’t influence the championship therfore he can bet but where do you draw the line? Can Michael Shumacher place a bet? He can’t win the championship but if Vettel has a poor race he may find himself in a position to stop the younger german from getting the points he needs. It’s better to put a blanket rule over the whole grid and senior personnel and disallow it.

  7. Can’t believe Glock is allowed to place a bet in the first place, how come there are rules and fixed sizes for the tiniest piece of bodywork on the car while there’s no rule preventing drivers from making such a bet? Besides there being no rule preventing such things, I think Glock should’ve been wiser himself… and why on earth would Virgin approve?

  8. How much did he have on Hamilton winning 2008 WDC?

  9. Sportspersons should be able to bet, yes. Not on others, but on themselves. There is no harm in Vettel putting a tenner down for him to win the championship this year. It’s when he puts money down on Alonso to be the first retirement this weekend that it becomes a bit iffy. On the whole, it’s probably best if they’re not allowed to.

    • I disagree with that. What if Glock bet on himself to retire on the first lap? He’d just crash on purpose (and we’ve seen that before) so I’m afraid I disagree with you there, Toby.

  10. Is this any worse than the time Webber placed a £200 bet on Kovalainen winning the 2008 British Grand Prix? I don’t recall anyone batting an eyelid when he revealed that little titbit!

  11. The Singapore GP seems to have some kind of Piquet Jr curse on it.

  12. Just think back to Monza, and imagine if a driver who also has the same bet was in front of one of Vettel’s main rivals.

    I’m not suggesting at all that anyone did have that bet on two weeks ago, but similar situations could arise in the future.

  13. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:48

    Out of all the people it could be it’s the guy who many conspiracy theorists believe fixed the title in 2008.

    It sounds like a bit of fun but could you imagine the backlash if he had an unfortunate collision with Alonso during the race?

    • That’s why I voted no. If that were to happen, then F1 would be in the news for bad things (again), and we’d be in the same position that one of my other favourite sports, rugby league, is in, where as mentioned in Keith’s article a player made a bet (on himslef I believe) and RL is getting much criticism for that incident right now. I’d hate for F1 to have any of that.

  14. At first I really didn’t care and voted “no opinion” as my immediate thought that this was yet another way F1 drivers were told something else they couldn’t do. A few seconds later though I realised that I was a bit dim and it shouldn’t be allowed at all.

    F1 has had so much bad press these last few years and one incident that nearly ruined F1’s reputation was an incident involving race fixing. I don’t believe an F1 driver would fix a race simply for a bet but it could happen and even if it didn’t there are far too many things that could happen to make it look like a race was rigged. Glock may only be a backmarker but what happens if Alonso is leading with Vettel close behind and Timo holds them up and a Hungary ’90 situation arises? It’s just asking for trouble and bad press.

    • I thought the same. “What’s the harm?” “Oh yeah, a load of stuff.” It was bad enough hearing the Glock-Hamilton nonsense before, imagine if it came to light that he’d had even a 10p bet on Hamilton. It wouldn’t change the truth, but I think there are plenty enough conspiracies as it is.

  15. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 22nd September 2011, 17:50

    I say no, don’t allow it. I’m sure any baseball fan or Cincinnatian will remember the Pete Rose scandal. I’d hate to see that repeated with any driver. It’s a sad way to tarnish one’s image in sports.

    That said I have to imagine it happened between drivers of older days all the time. They just probably never spoke publicly of it (which would be wise).

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