The Inside Line #109: Paying dollars, earning respect


TILI Logo PrintLike you, I dismissed Felipe Nasr as being yet another pay driver when his name was announced alongside Marcus Ericsson’s on the F1 entry list for this season. Perhaps unfairly, but the striking new blue and yellow livery for the team that sported the most conservatively boring car on the grid for the previous two years was all due to Nasr’s bank dollars and not a sudden departure from the Swiss team’s usual palette. And then came Australia, where Nasr finished fifth for a team that hadn’t scored a single point all of last year, and ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull. It still seems almost impossible to write that sentence …

As time has gone on, perhaps Nasr’s result that day says more about Red Bull’s 2015 as it says about Sauber, but Nasr has proved worthy of a seat at F1’s top table. That he’s scored more points to the halfway stage of the season than fellow rookies Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz comes as a surprise – being ahead of the two Toro Rosso tyros will be a tough ask by the end of the year given the teams’ disparity in budgets, but it’s a commendable achievement nonetheless. And along the way, the affable Nasr has made history, doing something no Brazilian driver has done before him. Not Senna, not Piquet, not Fittipaldi, and not Tarso Marques. Especially not him.

What, I hear you ask? Ah, that would be telling. You’ll need to watch Episode 109 of ‘The Inside Line’ this week to find out – check your local guides here, here and here. Also this week: why Fernando Alonso isn’t doing backflips over finally scoring a point, who will likely be driving alongside Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next year (hint: not Kimi), and a look at how Mercedes are turning this season into a Silver Arrows’ stampede. Check it out.


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