Everyone deserves a second chance in sport, don’t they?
This is especially true if you are Adam Carroll. He was someone who had waited for a proper career break for the best part of 15 years.
It came in the summer of 2016 in the shape of Jaguar, but largely through circumstances beyond his control, the dream faded.
Carroll suffered a frustrating debut season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s first exploratory campaign.
It was a year fraught with difficulty and occasional infuriation. The reasons for it doing so were many, but ultimately came down to the fact Jaguar was playing perennial catch up to its opposition.
There were some in the team that got caught out and were replaced for the program’s second season. Carroll was the most high profile casualty and there were many in and out of the team that had sympathy for him.
Was he a scapegoat? That’s hard to conclusively prove. Let’s just say that it would be erroneous to put significant blame on his shoulders for the meagre points haul which saw the team finish last in the standings.
Then in the summer, with Nelson Piquet Jr.’s relationship with NIO faltering, the Big Cat pounced and it was the Brazilian’s former F3 and GP2 rival who got sacrificed.
It was tough on Carroll. Yes, he was outscored by teammate Evans, yet in the races there was often little to choose between the two.
When the races looked as if they might go for Carroll, such as Paris and race one in Montreal, he was effectively sacrificed for what at the time was believed to be for the greater good of the team.
Carroll was streetwise enough to know he was out at season’s end and it was tough to see a driver who had always deserved a break with a major manufacturer cast aside.
There were politics afoot, as there is in any big manufacturer team, but crucially for Carroll these were more fraught than usual owing to the pressure the team and its technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering felt in playing such acute catch up to its rivals.
Most of the Formula E grid has had second chances during their careers, even some while in Formula E. Carroll deserves the same.
One of the quickest drivers of his generation, the Northern Irishman would be an ideal instant fit because, in a more stable and experienced environment as the second phase of Formula E moves closer, he would be a major asset on all levels.
Last week Carroll chose to break his silence on last season’s disappointment.
It was a mark of the man that instead of bitter moaning and accusatory finger pointing, he instead looked at the future and his clear aim of getting that second chance.
The why’s and wherefores in sport are myriad. Hard luck stories are endured by just about every sportsman going. Yes, some or poignant and yes some deserve sympathy.
Adam Carroll wants none of that, he just wants one more chance to mix it with Piquet, Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi, drivers with whom he went wheel-to-wheel with and sometimes beat in GP2.
Carroll has, at stages through his career, been sometimes referred to as ‘unfashionable’. That is a massive cop-out and frankly an insult to a quick, professional and intelligent racer.
Whether a team is willing to utilize Carroll’s self-described “plug-in-and-play” attributes this or next season is entirely up to them.
At least they now know last seasons’ experience has, if anything, made Adam Carroll even stronger.