Motor Racing: Hills to bring in betting on teams

Sports Betting
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WILLIAM HILL will introduce betting on Formula One teams for the first time at the Brazilian Grand Prix on March 29. In common with other bookmakers, they usually give odds on individual drivers only.

The move follows the controversial finish to Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, when David Coulthard let his McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen finish first. The team had earlier agreed that whichever driver was first out of the first corner would be allowed to win unhindered by his team-mate.

"We have been inundated with disgruntled punters complaining about David Coulthard and, whilst we sympathise with them, we would have to point out that it has been an integral part of the Formula One scene," said William Hill's spokesman, Graham Sharpe, yesterday.

"Just as we have to take the possibility of such a scenario into account when we set the odds, punters must do likewise when they place their bets."

Sharpe also called for teams to announce their instructions publicly before races. "This kind of situation... could be prevented if teams had to announce such instructions before a race," he said.

Sharpe said William Hill, who had quoted Hakkinen at 13-8 and Coulthard at 9-4 before the race, were in no position to know that the drivers had come to a prior agreement.

William Hill have now made Hakkinen and Coulthard 13-8 joint favourites for the Brazilian Grand Prix with the McLaren team 1-3 favourites to win the race. Ferrari are 9-2 and Williams 5-1.