Trevor Carlin has signalled his disappointment at finishing the World Series by Renault in third position after seeing their title hopes ruined when Sebastian Vettel left for Formula 1.
Pre-season favourite Vettel lived up to his billing by taking a large early lead in the driver standings after just seven races, while Carlin Motorsport already had a solid margin in the team championship.
However, when Vettel was called up to race with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula 1, the team were unable to find a suitable replacement to match the German's pace.
Indeed, despite acquiring the services of GP2 race winner Michael Ammermuller, Carlin went through a torrid patch of form that saw them score just 20 points in the eight races following Vettel's departure.
Although the team managed to pick up in the final round at Barcelona – with Robert Wickens replacing Ammermuller -, Carlin would eventually finish the season in third position behind Tech 1 Racing and Draco Racing.
Indeed, Carlin admits losing the services of Vettel mid-season destabilised the team and really affected their title chances.
"I'm disappointed to have only finished third in the team championship having led for the majority of the season. Losing our star driver before the halfway point in the season damaged our championship massively and it is a credit to the team that we were able to finish third overall.”
Carlin was also slightly critical of the team's second driver Mikhail Aleshin, who was expected to be a front runner in his second season of World Series racing. However, despite starting the season on the ultimate high of pole position followed by a race win, the Russian would not trouble the top step again.
In fact, that race alone almost accounted for half of his overall points tally on the way to an ultimately disappointing 12th in the standings.
"Through bad luck, driver error and a few mechanical issues, Mikhail didn't finish the season as high up the standings as he should have done. He has demonstrated race winning pace at nearly every event, but unfortunately was unable to replicate his earlier win at Monza.
“Robert Wickens did a good job for the team in the final two events, especially considering his lack of experience in the World Series car. It says a lot about that the mentality of the team that third place in the standings just isn't good enough. We'll be aiming to finish at the top in 2008."