The Inside Line #66: The evolution will be televised

TILI Logo PrintSome things haven’t changed in the new-look Formula One this season – Lewis Hamilton still rides the steepest emotional rollercoaster of any driver, Fernando Alonso remains the sport’s foremost competitor and Kimi Raikkonen’s effort tends to fluctuate when he’s getting paid [1] – but the complete reset to the cars and plenty of the rules this season has provided an interesting insight into the sport’s future.

While several of the new breed – Daniel Ricciardo (yes, him), Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen – have evolved, some of the older brigade – Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil [2] and Raikkonen – have, at best, plateaued. A case of old dogs not being able to learn new tricks, or attentions diverted elsewhere? It’s difficult to know, but one thing we can say for certain is that Bottas is a gun.

The Finn has been one of the stories of the season, but how good can he become? Ask Claire Williams, and she believes the unusually talkative Finn is a world champion in the making. Claire would say that, of course, but there’s no denying Bottas has been hugely impressive this season. It also shows how good of a year Williams have had when you consider Bottas’ rise might only be the third-best thing that has happened to them, behind signing an engine contract with Mercedes and closing the door behind Pastor Maldonado …

A look at Bottas’ outstanding second F1 season is a feature of Episode 66 of ‘The Inside Line’, while we also review all of the action from a dramatic final race before the mid-season break in Hungary [3]. Associate associate producer Stewart Bell (yes, that’s his ‘official’ title) is also on board this week, while the F1 schedule continues to expand. Mexico is back on the calendar for 2015, which we cover; Azerbaijan is somehow on the 2016 calendar, which we don’t.

Check out ‘The Inside Line’ on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm on Wednesday July 30, and/or on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) at 8.30pm on Thursday July 31.

– — —- —-

[1] Possibly the nicest thing I’ve written about Raikkonen in a while.

[2] Sometimes you read something you wish you’d written yourself. To quote Joe Saward: ‘Adrian Sutil is half-Uruguayan, plays the piano and does strange things with champagne glasses’. Hat tip to you, sir.

[3] Probably a good job there isn’t another race for four weeks. Daniel Ricciardo’s hangover might last for three …

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