Formula 1: New favorite emerges as top Max Verstappen threat for 2024

Max Verstappen remains the heavy favorite to win the 2024 Formula 1 world championship, but there is a new driver listed as his biggest threat.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages
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The 2024 Formula 1 season continues to be viewed by fans -- and arguably 19 of 20 drivers on the grid -- as more of a coronation than a competition, with three-time reigning world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull viewed as the heavy favorite to win a fourth straight title.

Never has that been clearer than it has been after last week's preseason testing at Bahrain International Circuit.

Coming off of a season in which he won 19 of 22 races (and a two-year stretch during which he won 34 races, more than any driver has ever won in a three-year span), Verstappen was listed by FanDuel Sportsbook at -380 to win the title entering the test.

His odds have shortened all the way to -650. This means that instead of betting $380 to win $100, you now have to bet $650 to win $100.

FanDuel is currently giving fans a bonus $150 just for placing a winning $5 bet.

New favorite emerges as top Max Verstappen challenger in 2024

Despite the fact that Verstappen's odds have shortened considerably even before the start of the 24-race season, there is a new favorite to challenge him, a driver whose odds have also shortened following testing: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc had been listed as the fourth favorite to win the title at +1800. But after a strong test for Ferrari which saw the Scuderia finish 1-2 on the overall speed chart, his odds have shortened to +1400.

McLaren's Lando Norris had been listed as Verstappen's top threat at +900, followed by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at +1000. They are now both listed at +1800.

Though testing speeds themselves should always be taken with a grain of salt, it is worth including that Verstappen finished testing in sixth place on the speed chart. Hamilton finished in 10th and Norris finished in 12th.

Leclerc is the most recent world championship leader other than Verstappen, having led the standings after each of the first five races of the 2022 season. After winning two of the season's first three races, he was actually the betting favorite to win the title that year.

He has won just one race since, that coming in July 2022. Verstappen has won 31 times in 39 starts during that stretch and has led the standings after each of those 39 races.

dark. Next. Formula 1 implements strange schedule change to start the 2024 season. Formula 1 implements strange schedule change to start the 2024 season

The 2024 Formula 1 season is scheduled to get underway on Saturday, March 2, not Sunday, March 3, with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit. ESPN is set to provide live coverage beginning at 9:55 a.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss any of the action!

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