He may have walked away from Formula 1 back in 2006, but IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya is never one to shy away from debates about the sport, and has recently waded in on the topic of DRS.
The controversial Drag Reduction System – which works via a flap in the rear wing to give the cars more top speed – has been largely met with a negative response since its introduction back in 2011.
Despite being designed to enhance overtaking, it appears to have gone too far, making passing too easy at tracks such as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada and even along the back straight at the Circuit of the Americas.
Now Montoya, who last raced in F1 for McLaren back in 2006, has joined the list of critics.
“It makes a better show because people pass people, but I think overtaking is an art,” the Colombian joked when speaking to The Racer’s Edge. “It’s like giving Picasso Photoshop.
“You had to think and you had to risk a lot. You don’t have to fight for the positions now.
“You come into the straight and if you are close enough you have DRS and you’ve cleared the guy by the next corner.”
Montoya spent five and a half seasons in Formula 1 before walking away part of the way through the 2006 season. He then moved to NASCAR, but has returned to IndyCar in 2014 after spending some of his pre-F1 years in American single seaters.
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.