Carl Edwards: There “definitely will be changes” at Roush Fenway

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As we wait for a final conclusion to the contract saga between Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing, Edwards has said today that the team knows where it stands performance-wise and is reacting accordingly.

“I feel like there have been a bunch of moves internally – there definitely will be changes at Roush Fenway Racing,” he said following today’s first Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway.

Chip Bolin moving on is a huge change and shows you the magnitude – I guess we understand where we are at. We know we have to be faster and there are big changes trying to address that.

“[General manager] Robbie [Reiser], Bob Osborne, Jack [Roush], everyone is working as hard as we can and we just have to hope that we work on the right things and are able to implement the findings and be better. We have everything there, we just need this much more speed and we would be really good.”

Edwards is currently a solid third in the Sprint Cup standings, but is the only Roush Fenway driver with a win so far this regular season.

His teammates, Greg Biffle (who, like Edwards, is also in the middle of a contract year) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., are 16th and 26th in the standings respectively, and are both winless.

While noting that the team still has time to sort out their overall woes, Edwards said that at this stage of the regular season, a critical question must be answered.

“There hasn’t been a lot of shift in the field but at the end of the day, now is the time when you have to think about if we are going the right direction or wrong direction performance-wise,” he said.

“That is what everyone has on their minds. How do you be the best you can so that you peak at Homestead [at the end of the season]? That is what you have to do.”

Edwards was 17th-fastest in today’s first practice at Pocono.

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.