Felipe Massa’s Ferrari seat under scrutiny

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Felipe Massa’s future at Ferrari has been thrown into doubt after team president Luca di Montezemolo admitted in an interview that he has spoken to the Brazilian driver about upping his game in the second half of the season.

So far in 2013, Massa has scored 61 points and claimed one podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix, but he has failed to match the form of his teammate Fernando Alonso, causing Ferrari to fall behind Red Bull and Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. Despite being the second longest-serving driver in the team’s history, Massa’s future is somewhat uncertain.

“Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy,” Montezemolo explained to Corriere della Sera. “But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points.

“Then, at some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do.”

This is not the first time that Massa’s position with the team has come under scrutiny. The Brazilian driver came within one point of winning the 2008 world championship, but after a severe accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, he appeared to lose the ‘spark’ that saw him come so close to becoming Brazil’s first world champion since Ayrton Senna. However, this will need to be regained soon if he is to spend a ninth season with Ferrari in 2014.

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.