Gutierrez not expecting miracles at Sauber in 2014

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After a difficult start to the season, Esteban Gutierrez is not expecting any quick fix at Sauber as both he and teammate Adrian Sutil continue to struggle with the C33 car.

The team is yet to score any points in 2014, and currently sits behind minnows Marussia in the constructors’ championship. In a media session today at Silverstone, Gutierrez was honest about the team’s current state.

“I have to say, at the moment, it cannot be worse,” he said. “We can only go for better things and this is what we have to keep ourselves working [towards]. We have no other options at the moment.”

The best thing about the car? “It’s very strong so when I crashed in the wall in Montreal it broke the chassis!” he joked.

In 2013, Sauber enjoyed an upturn in fortunes towards the end of the year, but Gutierrez is not expecting a repeat in 2014.

“To be honest we cannot fall down into that thought, because last year was pretty special,” he explained. “First of all, the tires were changed. Secondly, aerodynamically, we had something that we found pretty unusual which normally doesn’t happen.

“This year it’s not really the case. We are not really far off to the expectations from the wind tunnel, this kind of thing, so there’s not really something that’s going to change the whole situation.

“And we have to be truthful to ourselves that we cannot just sit and hope that things are going to change like last year. At the moment, we are working a lot to try to find a few tenths, but it’s not going to be one second or even half a second.

“Obviously with some of the parts we can bring, aerodynamically, [it] will be a boost, but apart from that it’s not going to be huge.”

Gutierrez heads into this weekend’s British Grand Prix with a ten place grid penalty for an unsafe release during the Austrian Grand Prix.

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.