IndyCar Driver Review: Ed Carpenter

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

P16 was your Indianapolis 500 polesitter, Ed Carpenter…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Ed Carpenter

  • Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
  • 2012: 18th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 5th
  • 2013: 16th Place, Best Finish 2nd, 1 Pole, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 56 Laps Led, 17.6 Avg. Start, 15.1 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: Carpenter’s season highlight of course is the dramatic Indianapolis 500 pole, and a second place at Fontana was a deserved result after a great drive. Other than that it was more of the same for the series’ lone owner/driver on track, a true contender on ovals and a consistent improver on the road and street courses, save for a couple mistakes at Toronto and Houston. He had to fight through adversity off track with Derrick Walker leaving the team for a post at INDYCAR directly, and also with a transporter fire after a Fontana test in September. On both occasions, though, the team pressed ahead.

Estrada says: In what proved to be his final full-time campaign for the time being (he’s brought in Mike Conway to do the road races in his No. 20 machine next year), Carpenter kept rolling along on the ovals with five Top-10s in six speedway races, including a runner-up in the season finale at Fontana. But any time you can beat Team Penske and Andretti Autosport for the Indy 500 pole in front of your fellow Hoosiers, that’s your major highlight of the year. The former USAC product also continued his development on the twisty tracks, but while he closed the gap somewhat to his rivals, any gap at all is magnified in a field this tough. Perhaps he had that in mind when he decided to bring Conway on for 2014…

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.