Petrov in talks with Marussia and others

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Vitaly Petrov is striving to return to the Formula One grid in time for Russian first grand prix due to be held next year.

The Vyborg-born driver lost his drive for Caterham at the end of last year after three years in the sport.

Petrov told RSport he had approached several teams about a drive next year including Russian-backed outfit Marussia.

“I need to understand their plans, what they want and how they want to be in F1 – just to have a car and drive or they want to grow up,” said Petrov.

Petrov was a guest of Mercedes at last weekend’s DTM (German touring car) race at the Moscow Raceway. He is one of several Russian drivers vying for a place on the grid ahead of next year’s inaugural race in Sochi.

Muscovite Sergey Sirotkin is in the running for an F1 debut with Sauber after a Russian research organization invested in the team. Red Bull also gave an F1 test to Daniil Kvyat. Like Sirotkin, the Bashkortostan native is still in his teens.

Petrov, whose F1 career highlight was a podium finish at Melbourne in 2011, said the prospect of a race in Russia improved his chances of making a return to the sport’s top flight:

“I think definitely it helps, because it can’t be the Russian Grand Prix without Russian drivers, you know. Maybe it will motivate some people to support me.”

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.