If you start your game with a custom built team, or selected a poor quality starting team, it can take a couple of seasons before you are competitive. My custom game took me two seasons before I could compete.
Most games do have some degree of luck involved, personally, I find the game to be surprisingly deep strategically and as you play more you'll find the rule system can have a a dramatic effect on your racing style and strategy.
If your driver crashes a lot, check their focus stat, it could be low. Hire a better driver
I like setting keyboard controls for my driving modes to make it easy to switch engine modes, I find if I actually control their driving modes (as opposed to just leaving it on orange, orange) it often makes the difference of at least 4-8 finishing positions.
Im fairly new to the game and its got me hook, line and sinker