Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is confident that Sebastian Vettel remains 100% committed to the team following speculation suggesting that he may have been subject to offers from Mercedes and McLaren.
Team advisor Helmut Marko revealed to German publication Sport Bild earlier this week that Vettel had received an “outrageously high” offer from McLaren to leave Red Bull and move to Woking, but the defending world champion brushed off the stories.
For Horner, there is little substance in the reports, and it is just typical of F1’s ‘silly season’.
“Well usually it’s the start of the silly season where he’s either going to Ferrari or Eric [Boullier] made him a big offer or maybe going to Mercedes,” he joked. “So, we just wait to see which team it’s going to be.
“Sebastian is absolutely committed to the team. There’s no doubt at all that he’ll be with Red Bull next year and he’s enjoyed so much success with the team, he’s happy with the team and the team are very happy with him.”
Following the seismic change in the regulations, Red Bull’s title defence has been non-existent. Mercedes has run away with proceedings this year, but Horner is confident that Vettel will remain loyal through this sticky spell.
“We know we’ve got a lot to do,” he said. “None of us are comfortable or happy with the situation that we’re currently in, but we’re in it together and we’ll work our way through it.”
Vettel is not the only driver to be subject to silly season rumors. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have both been linked with moves, but in all honesty, this is relatively normal as F1 prepares for its summer break.
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.