Red Bull rubbish rumors of Vettel tantrum

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Red Bull have rubbished rumors emerging from Bahrain that Sebastian Vettel threw a tantrum after a difficult day for the team during testing.

The defending world champions have endured a somewhat nightmarish testing period due to a number of problems with the RB10 car and the new Renault power unit. By lunchtime on day three in Bahrain, Vettel had managed to complete just half a lap after the car came to a stop soon after leaving the pits.

After it was recovered, the team tried to go out again, only for the car to grind to a halt at the end of the pit lane.

On Friday, it was reported by the BBC that Vettel had stormed out of the garage and said: “This is pointless. I’m not driving that again until it’s sorted out.” However, via its Red Bull Spy blog, the team quickly looked to dispel such rumors.

“We do, however, get the opportunity to make our own entertainment, one avenue to which is reading some of the more lurid speculation that’s flying around.

“Our favourite today is the one about Seb apparently having a massive hissy fit in Jerez, refusing to drive the car because it wasn’t very good, and storming off in a huff.

“A major news broadcaster posted the story this morning, along with the line “No-one outside the team knows whether it happened or not, and those on the inside wouldn’t say.”

“Eh? Run that by me again?

“I suppose it could be true. Maybe four world championships really have turned him into a screaming primadonna. Perhaps what really happened is Seb leapt out of the car and started foaming at the mouth. He made a very rude gesture in the direction of Adrian, snarled at Rocky, kicked Ole in the spanners and then stormed out of the garage, saddled his unicorn and rode back to Switzerland.”

The car might be a bit of ‘problem child’, but it’s good to see that the team has not lost its sense of humor.

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.