IndyCar: Carpenter hopeful for second car in 2015

1 Comment

This is no different than in the past, but Ed Carpenter has said he would like to expand the Ed Carpenter Racing team to a second car next year.

As ever, finding the funding to make it happen will determine whether it will in fact, happen.

“We would like to expand,” Carpenter said during Wednesday’s INDYCAR conference call. “I think we’ve talked about that in 2012 when we started the team, that’s something we would like to do. But there are always a lot of variables with that, getting to that point. Hopefully we get there. We’re working hard to be able to expand. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.”

The team ran a second car at the Indianapolis 500 this year for JR Hildebrand. There are no plans at the moment to see Hildebrand back for the rest of this season, which include the two California races in Sonoma and Fontana to end the season.

Both Carpenter, the oval driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, and road course/street course driver Mike Conway, are optimistic they can keep their ride share arrangement active for next year as well.

“I’m just enjoying doing all the road course racing, watching Ed on the ovals,” Conway said. “I think it’s a really good pairing, working out well. I definitely see we can work more in the offseason, we’ll definitely be able to come back stronger next year. So it’s a really good thing.”

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.