F1 Driver Review: Paul di Resta

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Claiming 12th and currently facing an uncertain future in Formula One is Paul di Resta…

PAUL DI RESTA

No. 14 Force India-Mercedes
2013 Stats: 12th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 1 Top-5, 9 Top-10s, 3 Laps Led
Average Start: 12.9
Average Finish: 12.5
DNFs: 6

DiZinno says: Di Resta has had roughly the opposite type seasons as Nico Hulkenberg, his 2012 teammate at Force India. The Scot traditionally starts strong but falters as the year goes on, and the pressure of grabbing the midfield points for the Constructor’s Championship mounts. That doesn’t look great to prospective employers, unfortunately. He was made to look worse than he was by Hulkenberg the tail end of last year and Adrian Sutil this year presented a similar measuring stick. Di Resta, as he did in his rookie year when paired alongside Sutil, compared favorably and once again had his moments of brilliance – the first stint at Canada stands out. Sutil may not be considered a “pay driver” but does have some budget to bring, and perhaps that’s why he’s at Sauber instead of the driver who outperformed him in 2013.

Estrada says: With no major financial backing to bring with him, 2013 may have been the last season of di Resta’s F1 career after he was dropped recently by Force India. He had a pretty good year going in the first half with seven Top-10s in the first eight races, including a great drive to fourth in Bahrain. But when the team faltered in mid-season, the Scotsman went down too and suffered a horrendous streak of five consecutive DNFs from Hungary to Korea. Di Resta bounced back with points-paying efforts in India (eighth) and Abu Dhabi (sixth) that helped the team hang on to sixth in the constructors’ championship. Unfortunately for him, that and outperforming Adrian Sutil weren’t enough to keep Vijay Mallya from giving him a pink slip. Now the question is whether he can land another F1 seat or if he’ll have to take his career elsewhere.

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.