Downton have this evening announced previous Team 23 team owner and principal Andae d'Hazorme as their new Deputy Team Principal and co-Technical Director. d'Hazorme will take on a role not previously held within the team and work alongside long time technical director Declan Johnson in the development of the BD03 and the design of the 2016 car, the BD04.
As the 2015 Formula V season kicks into gear, with pre-season testing in Portugal beginning shortly, the twelve constructors are readying their teams to take on the championship ahead, which begins in Australia at Albert Park. Here is a quick look at the contenders, as they aim to make or break over the course of the next 10 months.
Ocelot Join the Fray
Following the saddening news that 2013 runners up Team 23 were withdrawing from the sport, Ocelot from Japan were quick to fill the void, and aim to make a mark on their debutante season. As the two newcomers in 2014 are quick to remind, the sport is a grueling challenge, but Ocelot have developed a slick looking chassis and livery that reflects both their ambition and aspirations in the season ahead.
A New Name, But Will AMR Change the Tide?
Overall tail-enders Force Australia had a rough start to their first season, and despite pulling an excellent double-points finish in Barcelona, finished at the end of the pack, well behind rival newcomers Warrior. With a swift change in team ownership and design, new constructor Australasian Motorsport Research (AMR) hope to break the bad run in 2015, opting to ditch their BMW predecessors in favour of their own power unit.
Warrior Wield a Midfield Chance
The opposite end of the new teams saw a remarkable difference in performance, with several points finishes and even a sniff at a podium. Looking to reinforce their existing talent with a new chassis, Warrior are poised to make midfield appearance a regular feature after a strong opening run.
Westwood Have What it Takes
It's no secret that Westwood's poor run of results were more the making of horrible luck than anything else. Their drivers and machines are blindingly fast, and consistently mixed with the front runners on their good days. Given the enthralling performances of Kinnumen, the team definitely have the goods to take things to the top. Things indeed look promising for the new season - if Lady Luck doesn't interfere!
Lucas Can Regain Lost Ground
Another team to see a reversal in fortunes were 2013 race winners Lucas GP, who also dance with the top guns on a good day. A couple of unfortunate race results compromised an otherwise consistent team, who can take things further with their strong line-up. Points finishes are a strong point, but they have the capability of winning as well, which will undoubtedly be on the cards.
Finland's Ultimate Nordic Team Remain Consistent
FUN by name and fun by nature, the Nordic enthusiasts are also known to score points regularly and feature towards the front. Their striking new livery for 2015 shows a sense of seriousness and determination; with reliability and consistently still on their side, their chances continue to improve towards that patiently-awaited first victory.
Peugeot Return to their Meteor Roots
Another team having a face-lift, though more of a return to former traces, are strong contenders Peugeot, who return to their Meteor Motorsport moniker for the new season. Lewis Ellington took their car to the top spot on the podium in Spain last year, which is surely an omen of things to come. The machinery and talent is certainly there, and is surely being capitalized on before disembarking for Australia next month.
Ingram Can Make it Three
A technical partnership with Franklin Honda most certainly paid off for the Ingram outfit, who went from back-markers to dominant race winners; not once, but twice! Being yet to launch their 2015 challenger could be a sign that a lot of work is going on to perfect their machine before the action starts. They are proven fighters who will undoubtedly cause a stir again this year.
Forza Rossi Fight Hard
Another 2014 stir came courtesy of Ferrari outfit Scuderia Rossi, who consistently raced and scored in the top ten. Wins are definitely there for the taking, and no doubt Rossi will continue to aim very high in pursuit of the top three teams. Their driver selection shows great intelligence from the Rossi outfit, who seem to be able to pick real talent to pilot their craft.
Downton Aim to Dominate
When Downton secured 2013 drivers champion Nathaniel Powers, they sent a strong message to the other teams that they meant business. Finishing third in the 2014 constructors title, their formidable car may not have secured the top step, but their huge rise in stance was definitely taken note of. Although rumours spread of a rocky relationship with title sponsor Orange, their team is focused and very strong.
Not a Long Way For Liverpool
The gorgeous red machines of Liverpool took the title fight all the way down to the wire in 2014, succumbing mostly due to bad luck and a low reliability. On a good day, Liverpool wrecked the opposition, which cements their strengths and outright speed. Without the consistent results, they fell to Franklin in the long run, but will certainly have the remedy ready for a second round with the series leader.
Franklin for a Hat-trick?
Being the inaugural series winners, most did believe Franklin would secure the title again on the second run. To write them off as dominant and runaways, however, would make for an indisputable understatement. Challenged and fought against at nearly every round, they kept an immense momentum going that would eventually win them a second crown, but the championships have now hit flash point. At points, they faced scrutiny over their team decisions: most notably their preferential driver treatment, which may have given drivers champion Enrique Ruiz an edge over runner up Will Hoskins. Regardless of the opinions, they know what they are doing, and will work hard to keep the constructors trophy safely in their hands.