In a shock turn of events Downton have announced FV2 Series Championship leader Klaas van Snelheid will step up to Formula Virtual with them in 2017, leaving one of Nathaniel Powers or Marcus Thunder - the teams current race drivers - without a race seat.
The announcement was made in the build up to the 2016 Dutch V-Prix - a home race in FV2 for Klaas - where it was also confirmed he would drive in the practice session ahead of the V-Prix as a demonstration run, in place of Marcus Thunder.
Klaas has enjoyed much success in junior categories, winning both FV3 and VWRS - and currently leads the FV2 series.
After the British Grand Prix, Jamie Franklin made it well known that he wasn’t happy with how the 2015 FV Champion had been performing this year.
Japanese team Ocelot have announced in a press conference who they will be supplied by for the 2017 season, the team are known to be moving away from Downton after a two year deal. They were known to be in talks with a couple of manufactures such as Ferrari and Renault or so the rumors in the paddock suggested.
The full transcript of what happened at the conference is available below.
Rai Miyamoto: Welcome everyone especially to those in Europe; we’d like to apologize for waking you up so early for this announcement. Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you for Downton for helping us find our feet in Formula Virtual; we would like to wish them and DS the very best for the future. So when we first joined Formula Virtual we had an ambitious plan to create a dynasty, a team to be remembered and from the 2017 season we will be in phase two of our plan.
So with that being said please allow me to be joined by our 2017 technical partner Jamie Franklin!
Jamie Franklin walks down towards the press conference table and shakes hands with Rai Miyamoto before sitting down as attention turns to the media.
Reporter: How did the negotiations start?
Franklin: Ocelot actually came to us first, notifying us that they had interest in the Honda engine, and from there we discussed what each party would need for the deal to go ahead. It’s no secret that at the start of our relationship with Honda, we were wanting a more exclusive deal with them, but our partnership with Ingram has definitely changed our perspective on this.
Miyamoto: Like Jamie said we were extremely interested in obtaining the Honda engine, after all it is championship engine. We were in discussions with a couple of manufactures but in the end we were convinced by Jamie. He’s a good closer, law firms should keep an eye out.
Reporter: How does the deal effect your relations with Ingram?
Franklin: We have a great working relationship with Ingram. We’re not going to take credit for their successes, but I believe we’ve certainly played a role in helping them get to where they are now as opposed to where they were three years ago, and this new deal won’t change that.
Reporter: What made Franklin agree to the deal, following Ocelot’s decision to move away from Downton?
Franklin: I don’t think there’s anything in particular that ’made’ us agree to any deal. After some negotiations, we believed it would be in good interest of both teams to engage in this partnership, so it was more just a matter of convicting Ocelot to see why they’d benefit from this as well.
Miyamoto: Jamie managed to convince us that there was an interest from both parties which would allow both of our teams to move forward, on top of the fact that we will now have the strongest home nation engine in our cars which should give the people at home something more to cheer about.
Reporter: How much will the two teams be involved from a technical stand point and will resources be used from either team?
Franklin: We’re still at the foundation of our relationship. It will take time to build things up, and I’m sure as long as both parties continue to prosper from the partnership, then we will be able to provide more resource to help each other. For now, we are focused on helping Ocelot to move further up the grid, as we did with Ingram in 2014. What that will involve specifically will remain a secret though, I’m afraid.
Miyamoto: Having seen the developments of Ingram and how they have managed to move higher up the grid, we were certain that this would be the right move for us from a technical point of view. However unfortunately the secrets of the partnership we will not be able to share with the media.
Miyamoto: Thank you, everyone for coming that concludes our press conference.
The rumors surrounding Enzo Domenicalli and various teams has now been settled, the Italian has confirmed he will be re-joining with former teammate Puccio Giodano. ''I'm very proud to be able to return to the sport in some fashion, it's been quite hard not having a drive this season but hopefully that will change in the next few years. I've been talking to Puccio very closely and he had nothing but great things to say about the Ocelot team and it's project of creating a dynasty.''
Team Principle Rai Miyamoto also had the following to say on the subject. ''It's great to have Enzo on board. He is a fantastic to driver and since joining Puccio has been telling us how strong there relationship is, so hopefully we will be able to see them together one day again. However this does not discredit Karl who has been the key player in all of this, giving a newer team like us a chance and showing drivers it's okay to take a risk.''
''I can confirm we signed Enzo to a 3 year deal and we are looking at things long term for him. This doesn't however mean we will push one of our other drivers out, that's not the type of team we are. Enzo is aware of where he will place for next season and he is currently happy with filling that role. In other words we will retain the services of Puccio Giodano for 2016 and he will driver for the team with Enzo taking a reserve driver role for the 2017 season. Again I want to assure you, this is a long term deal for us and Enzo.''
Former teammate Puccio Giodano seemed ecstatic with the deal.''It's fantastic isn't it to have another fantastic driver on board with Karl and now Enzo. I'm over the moon with the key moves the team has made currently, now we need to move our focus onto the car.''
Karl Beckenbaur had the following to add. ''It's nice to see another talented driver join this team, especially after being questioned with this move, I am very happy at the team and look forward to hopefully a fantastic season next year!''