Ecclestone raises New Jersey doubts but organizers remain positive

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Bernie Ecclestone says next year’s planned grand prix in New Jersey could still go ahead but warned the promoters won’t be given any more help to make the race happen.

Ecclestone told Adam Cooper: “We’ve been mucking around and waiting long enough. We’ve compromised enough.”

“We sent them 10 million to pay some of their debts, and keep the doors open, so we’re a little bit serious”

Ecclestone said F1 remains keen to put on the race: “If they can comply with the contract, we want to be there. If they come to me next week, and show they have complied with whatever it should be, it’s alright. They’ve got to finish the circuit, so they need to pay, and they need to comply with the conditions for us.”

However the mayor of West New York does not share Ecclestone’s doubts. Felix Roque told NJ.com: “As far as we are concerned, the race is still on.

“[Construction crews] are working diligently on Boulevard East, getting curbs and sidewalks done… They are out there today.”

And promoter Leo Hindery Jnr told GP Update there were no concerns over getting the track ready: “The only obstacles in front of us now are execution, they’re not structural.”

“The course never changed its configuration from the time we first identified it. It’s been clearly and frequently vetted by [FIA race director] Charlie [Whiting] and his colleagues on behalf of the teams.”

The race on the banks of the Hudson river was originally supposed to take place last June, but was pushed back to next season due to delays getting the venue ready.

“In a difficult financial market it became clear late last fall, really early in the winter that we would not make 2013,” Hindery added.

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.