Ed Carpenter came up just shy of his third consecutive season finale victory in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, while Tony Kanaan rounded out his career at KV Racing Technology – SH shy of the $250,000 bonus on offer from Fuzzy’s had he won a second race in the Triple Crown (Indianapolis 500 his first).
Carpenter lost out to Will Power despite gaining on him toward the finish. Had he won, he would have been the 11th different winner in the 2013 season, which would have tied a record. As it is, Carpenter matches his car number in becoming the 20th different driver to score a podium this year.
“We came in the pits the last time, and took some downforce off the rear wing to get more straightaway speed for the finish. And it was working; it got us to second,” said Carpenter.
“Will (Power) was real fast the few three or four laps out of a yellow. Then we started reeling him in and we just ran out of laps. If it had gone a little further, I thought we could have caught him.”
Carpenter led only a single lap in the 250-lap race while Kanaan, who started ninth and finished third, led three during a pit stop exchange earlier in the race.
“It was a hard race,” Kanaan said. “I had a couple of scary moments out there, but the engineers made adjustments almost every stop and the guys did a great job in the pits. In the end, we just didn’t have enough to win. It was a great feeling to give the team a podium finish in our last race.”
Kanaan’s KVRT teammate Simona de Silvestro posted her best career result on an oval, eighth, to secure her fifth straight top-10 finish heading into the offseason.
Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.
“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”
In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.
With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.
In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.
“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.
“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”
Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.
“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said. “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”
Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.
“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.
“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”
Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.