After weeks of speculation, the absence of Scuderia Rossi on this years grid has been confirmed by Formula Virtual CEO, Nic Morley. Cory Evans, whom was originally signed to be Meteors deputy team principal, will take the thirteenth spot. Holmqvist will enter Formula Virtual this season to become the first Swedish team, as well as the second Nordic based team.
Since the Chinese V-Prix the team principal, Antonio Rossi, has been absent and thus missed the title deciding final race of the season. With so much potential in 2015 for the Italian team, they could not live up to it, and thus were beaten to both championship by Franklin and Elroy Wagner. It has now been confirmed that Scuderia Rossi will not be present in the 2016 Formula Virtual season.
Holmqvist FV Team will make their debut for the 2016 season and will become the first Swedish team in the sports history. Cory Evans who did apply for a 2016 grid spot six months ago has now been granted an opportunity to enter due to Rossi's absence. Holmqvist will be powered by Renault engines, whom last participated in Formula Virtual back in 2013 where they supplied Meteor. The 2016 Holmqvist chassis will be named 'FH-001', while using '51' and '52' as their race numbers.
"It is with great sadness to announce Antonio Rossi and his team, Scuderia Rossi, will not be participating in this years championship. Antonio has been absent since the Mexican V-Prix, and after many messages I just haven't heard back from him. This unfortunately, with a week a bit before the first race of the season, has led me to find a suitable replacement to keep the grid at thirteen teams as was promised to the fans. Antonio and his team have been a great addition to the series and have always shown their faith and support for the championship since mid 2013. Antonio is a great guy and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors. I hope that he is going okay and it would be very welcome to see his face back in the paddock, and openly invite him to re-apply for a position of it interests him", said Nic Morley.
"On the contrary, it is with great pleasure to announce that Cory Evans and his team 'Holmqvist FV team' will join the Formula Virtual circus from 2016. I have known Cory for a while now and know he is an avid supporter on the series. I truly believe he will be a fantastic addition to the series in which he has already proven by just being a supporter in the last year or so. I am excited for Holmqvist to join FIRST Motorsport, and North Star Racing, as the three new teams for 2016. I wish Holmqvist and Cory Evans the very best for the seasons ahead", finished Nic Morley.
Holmqvist team principal Cory Evans took was hounded down by the media minutes later to head his thoughts.
"Firstly let me start off by saying I am saddened by the situation at Rossi. To see such an impressive team seemingly vanish without a trace is disappointing for the series. Nonetheless, Fredrik (Holmqvist) and I are hugely grateful for this opportunity that Nic has offered our team. After our initial application was unsuccessful we were naturally disappointed and the work stopped, and as such we have a very very short time frame to pull this project together. As a result we will not make even the final two days of pre-season testing in Estoril, but we very much hope we will be in Australia", said Cory Evans.
"We are lucky that the contacts we made during our initial application – to sponsors, to Renault and such like – have been eager to affirm their partnership with us upon confirmation of this opportunity, and at such short notice. I’d also like to extend thanks to Kazuki Armos and the Meteor team, whom have been very respectful in allowing me to break the team principal contract once this opportunity arose. I know they will swiftly find a replacement for me and I wish them all the best. I would also like to thank Robert Mathershaw and the DS team, who have been instrumental in helping with the livery of the Holmqvist FH-001", continued Evans.
"As for drivers, we do not have anyone yet. We have spoken to a few people regarding the possibility, but now is when we need to sit down and start working things over", finished Cory Evans.
With this news, Puccio Giodanos' and Enzo Domenicallis' race careers have been thrown up in the air. The Italian pair both scored their first wins in 2015, and thus will be desperate to find spot on the 2016 career, or at worst return in 2017. Puccio Giodano was signed with Rossi for 2016, however that contract is now invalid. Formula Virtual CEO, NIc Morley, explained the situation with Puccio Giodano and his contract.
"This is very clearly a unique situation we find ourselves, and in particular for Puccio Giodano. He was signed him ages ago by Rossi which means know other teams were allowed to bid on him. Due to this unique situation, Giodano will be placed back on the driver market but with a twenty-five percent discounted price. This will mean his starting bidding price will be 6,750,000", said Morley.
The Australian was then asked about Holmqvist' driver situation due to their being only days from the first V-Prix of the season.
"Cory still needs to sign two race drivers and a test driver. With the way the rules are now that is simply not enough time, so for this unique situation I will grant Holmqvist the ability to bid on three drivers at a time so he can have his team ready by Melbourne", finished Nic Morley, again.
Well there you have it, dramatic news in the middle of pre-season testing. Could the sudden availability of Puccio Giodano spark the a very late 2016 silly season, and what drivers will find themselves driving a Holmqvist. Be sure to stay tuned!