F1’s golden oldies

1 Comment

NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd is set to make history this weekend by becoming the oldest driver ever to compete in the series. The 71-year-old will join the field at New Hampshire.

In his eighth decade, Shepherd outstrips by far the oldest drivers who’ve successfully competed in Formula One:

Oldest F1 driver to… start a race
Louis Chiron: 55 years, 309 days

The record for the oldest driver ever to compete in a Formula One race belongs to Louis Chiron. He was over a decade and a half Shepherd’s junior when he started the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix for Lancia. Chiron completed 95 of the 100 laps and finished sixth.

Oldest F1 driver to… win a race
Luigi Fagioli: 53 years, 35 days

The ‘Abruzzi robber’ reluctantly handed his Alfa-Romeo to team mate Juan-Manuel Fangio at Reims in 1951, who went on to win. Fagioli shared the triumph, also becoming the oldest driver ever to finish on the podium. But he turned his back on grand prix racing after that race, and died after a crash at Monaco the following year.

Oldest F1 driver to… set pole position
Giuseppe Farina: 47 years, 90 days

The original world champion put his Ferrari on pole position for the Argentinean Grand Prix in 1954. But he finished second in the race to his former team mate – and home hero – Fangio.

Oldest F1 driver to… win the world championship
Juan Manuel Fangio: 46 years, 53 days

The driver even his rivals called ‘Maestro’ won his fifth and final world championship with one of the finest drives the sport has ever seen. Driving his Maserati 250F at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Fangio overcame a huge delay during a mid-race pit stop to catch and pass the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins to win the race and the title.

Oldest F1 driver to… start the last race
Mark Webber, 36 years, 323 says

Formula One is a young man’s game these days. But Webber can console himself with the thought that he’s little more than half Morgan Shepherd’s age, so he still has a lot more racing left in him.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.