There are just 22 seats to be had in Formula One this year and three of them have gone to up-and-coming talents who are eager to make names for themselves.
Here’s a quick guide to the five new faces in the F1 field in 2013.
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Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber
- Like fellow Mexican Sergio Perez he is backed by Escuderia Telmex which enjoys funding from the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim
- Won two F1 support series in their inaugural years: Formula BMW Europe in 2008 and GP3 in 2010
- Covered 1,720 miles in pre-season testing – more than any other driver
Valtteri Bottas – Williams
- A protégé of fellow Finn and two-times world champion Mika Hakkinen
- Appeared in 15 practice sessions for Williams last year
- Hasn’t started a race since the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix in November 2011
Giedo van der Garde – Caterham
- At 27 years of age he’s the oldest of F1’s new intake for 2013
- F1’s first Dutch driver since Christijan Albers started the 2007 British Grand Prix
- Was team mate to future F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel, Paul di Resta and Kamui Kobayashi at the ASM team in the 2006 F3 Euro Series
- Won the 2008 Formula Renault 3.5 championship, then spent four years in top F1 feeder series GP2
Max Chilton – Marussia
- Started his single-seater career at such a young age he required a special dispensation to compete in the British Formula Three championship
- Hasn’t won a championship in any of the junior categories he raced in
- Ended last year’s GP2 championship strongly with victory at Singapore lifting him to fourth overall
Jules Bianchi (pictured) – Marussia
- Has been a Ferrari Development Driver since 2009 and has extensive experience in their cars
- Drove in nine practice sessions for Force India last year
- Narrowly missed out on winning the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 championship following a controversial collision with title rival Robin Frijns
- Was passed over for the Force India race seat but landed the Marussia drive vacated by Luiz Razia
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.