Valtteri Bottas may be yet to score his first points in Formula One, but the young Finn is pleased with how he has fared during the first ten races of his F1 career after debuting at the beginning of the season.
Bottas, who won GP3 back in 2011, spent last season testing for Williams before making the jump to a full-time race seat this year alongside Pastor Maldonado. The team has scored just one point so far this season due to car problems, but Bottas is pleased with his work.
“I think without looking at the car performance, if I analyze myself, I think I can be reasonably happy with the first half because it’s still my first season,” Bottas told Richland F1. “I’ve been matching Pastor more or less. We’ve been very close the whole season so I think it’s been good. He’s a good reference for me as a teammate because everyone knows he’s quick and he’s won a race. But you know, there’s always things I’m learning all the time and when I look back, there’s things you could have done better but that’s part of learning and it’s been okay.”
The Finnish driver also believes that a lack of progress by Williams during the off-season has proved costly.
“I think our car is sometimes quite difficult to drive, a bit unpredictable sometimes. But I think compared to last year we are more or less now on the same level, even could be a bit better. It’s just a fact that everyone else has improved so much in the last year and we kind of didn’t. The base, the start level for this year wasn’t good enough so that’s the problem.”
However, Bottas believes that this form will not carry over into 2014 when a raft of new regulations come into force.
“But you know next year there are going to be big rule changes and hopefully then we have time to catch up with the others.”
Bottas’ junior career led many to believe he would immediately attain success in Formula One, but with the Williams FW35 masking his potential, the Finn is not to be written off yet.
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.