Mark Webber says tires are dominating F1 at the moment but the teams will get to grips with them as the season goes on.
“They are everything at the moment,” said Webber in an interview with Red Bull television channel Servus TV. “If the tires are not in the working window, if they’re not got the right grip level and the driver’s not confident with them then the lap time is not going to be very strong at all.”
“The consistency’s important with the tires. We see some teams are very consistent with tires: we see Lotus doing two stop strategies, the McLaren doing four stops with Jenson Button who is a very smooth driver on the tires. So it’s still a very big factor.”
“All the teams are still learning how to get the most out of the tires. And I think as the season goes on the teams will get more and more used to dealing with the tires.”
Webber said he found himself under attack in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix because he had taken too much life out of his tires earlier in the race:
“I would like to have had a stronger finish towards the end,” he said. “In the end, as we see these days the tires are playing a very big role in the overall performance of the result.”
“The first part of the grand prix did not go too bad for me. Basically the stints were just not long enough so at the end of the race you have not too much tire left.”
“I had a really good battle, actually, with Lewis [Hamilton], it was a really good fight. But in the end I lost the position to him and to Sergio [Perez].”
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.