Webber: Future is in my hands

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All of the signs may suggest that Mark Webber is set to leave Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2013 season, but the Australian driver claims that his future with the team is largely down to him.

Webber’s future in F1 has come under scrutiny after the multi 21 fiasco saw his relationship with the team plummet to an all-time low, yet he inferred that another year with Red Bull is possible.

“The ball is pretty firmly in my court, which is nice,” Webber told Sky Sports Australia. “I have to of course continue to keep driving well, otherwise then that ball will go out of your court and other people will roll into that seat because they’ll probably be more attractive to a team like Red Bull.”

Yet to win a race this season, Webber is keen on claiming his third British GP victory at the next race, and he showed no signs of losing any love for Formula One despite rumors suggesting that he may be set to move to Porsche’s WEC team for 2014.

“I’m not taking it lightly, I’m very, very driven and focused and I don’t trivialise how important it is for me to operate at this level. I love doing it.

“I’ve got some big decisions to make, but not shortly, I don’t think. I still need to have a bit more time, and we can leave it reasonably late, I think.”

Webber’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, recently extended his contract with Red Bull until the end of 2015.

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.