Although Nico Rosberg may have led Mark Webber home by just 0.7 seconds in today’s British Grand Prix, the real story coming out of the race was the issue with the tires at Silverstone this weekend.
During the race, there were five tire failures all occurring to different drivers, with Lewis Hamilton, Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa suffering from the incidents. Speaking after the race, Massa made his feelings perfectly clear.
“I think what’s happened today is unacceptable,” he said. “What’s happened today was very dangerous for us, for me and for all of the drivers racing. It’s not the first race I have had this kind of problem, I have already two tires gone in Bahrain, and another problem here.”
Many have said that the multiple failures could be due to the hot conditions at Silverstone or the way that the kerbs have been cut for the race, but Massa believes that the issue lies with the construction of the tires.
“It’s not the first track. Many people say because of the kerb or because of the debris or whatever but it’s not the first time. It’s not the only track we have had this problem at so it is unacceptable and we need to do something for our safety.”
Massa, when talking to Italian journalists, described his safety as ‘being in the hands of God’.
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.