F1 drivers pleased with Canadian GP contract renewal

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A number of F1 drivers and figures are pleased that the Canadian Grand Prix’s contract has been renewed for another ten years, ensuring that the sport will continue to visit Montreal until 2024.

In a press conference yesterday, officials at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve confirmed that a new contract had been drawn up with the F1 Group that will also see the paddock and pit complex renovated in the next few years. The agreement also ensures that there will be at least two races in North American until 2022, when the Circuit of the America’s contract to host the United States Grand Prix expires.

Speaking yesterday in Montreal, a number of the current drivers were pleased to see the extension of the contract.

“It’s great because Montreal is one of the best races in the year for all of us I think,” pole-sitter Nico Rosberg said after qualifying. “It’s a great track, the fans are fantastic, so enthusiastic so I’m very happy and I’m sure everybody is that we’re going to be coming here a lot more often in the future.”

Three-time Canadian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton echoed his teammate’s thoughts, saying: “It’s one of the best races of the year but mostly the fans here are some of the best that we get to see. They really make the atmosphere and the city is incredible. We enjoy coming here so I’m grateful that that’s been done so hopefully we get to race here many more times.”

Montreal embraces Formula 1 with open arms during the grand prix weekend, putting on a number of parties and events in the city centre for the fans. That, combined with the brilliance and the history of the circuit, means that the extension of Canada’s contract will receive unanimous approval from the F1 community.

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.