The multi 21 fiasco may have dominated the headlines recently, yet Mark Webber has now spoken of the respect that he and teammate Sebastian Vettel have for each other within the Red Bull setup.
Webber’s relationship with Vettel appeared to be at an all-time low following the incident in the Malaysian Grand Prix, which saw the defending world champion pass Webber for the lead against team orders. However, the Australian driver has suggested the opposite is true in a recent interview with IANS.
“Sebastian and I are a team and we share a great camaraderie,” Webber said.
“Sebastian is an experienced driver. Besides, we have a common goal as teammates to make our team proud.”
Webber suggested that it was the drivers’ duty to Red Bull to respect and push each other.
“We continue to respect each other and will continue to remain focused in wanting to make the team proud.”
Although rumors of an impending move to Porsche’s World Endurance Championship squad fail to go away, Webber is confident that he can still challenge for wins this season, and perhaps even the title.
“The goal is always to win. That’s what keeps me motivated on the tracks. I will give it my best shot and leave the rest to fate and destiny.”
These comments will certainly confuse many Formula One fans following the incident in Malaysia, although they may be nothing but empty words in order to draw attention away from the inter-team battle, thus easing the pressure on Mark Webber.
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.