Grosjean believes he has more to give

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Romain Grosjean has admitted in an interview he is disappointed with his start to the 2013 season despite scoring points in both races.

The Lotus driver finished P10 in Australia and a strong P6 in Malaysia, and although he has nine points to his name, the 22 point gap to teammate Kimi Raikkonen is cause for concern.

“It’s been a little frustrating,” said Grosjean. “I don’t think I’ve shown my full potential yet.

“The first two races were quite difficult for me and I would really like a weekend where I can show what myself and the team can do this season.”

Grosjean suffered a car failure in Australia whilst Raikkonen went on to win the race, but he made good use of the upgrades in Malaysia to finish a strong sixth ahead of his teammate, showing the Frenchman’s ability.

“We’ve got great potential, I just need to unlock it. Hopefully we’ll find the key in China.”

The 2011 GP2 champion also conceded that he was struggling with the Lotus E21, but that he is making good progress to understand the car.

“Sometimes the car gives me what I want and sometimes it doesn’t, even if the conditions and set-up are very similar. I’ve been working closely with my engineers and we made good progress over the last race weekend.

“The car and the latest tires seem to be very sensitive to having the balance exactly right so that’s what we’re focusing on.”

Team principal Eric Boullier has touted Grosjean as being a future world champion, and some of his performances in 2012 showed signs of this capability. However, if he fails to get to grips with the E21, it could be a long and barren season for the French driver.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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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.