Paul Ricard, France
In the wake of the shocking news that Westwood Renault Sport are to leave Formula Virtual with immediate effect, DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw technical director Robert Mathershaw and team principal Arthur Lapierre have commented on the developments.
Mathershaw was clear in his message: "The Westwood team are one of the original teams of Formula Virtual, and their pedigree always spoke for itself, but for me, the team was about more than just the competition they offered. Harry is a great guy, and even among one of the friendliest paddocks in motorsport, he stood out as someone who was always good for a laugh and a chat, and would always take time out of what he was doing to do so. I'm very saddened to hear the news that Westwood are withdrawing from the series, but I sincerely hope that Harry remains in the paddock in some capacity - the place simply would be worse of without him."
Lapierre offered a similar response, highlighting the competitive attributes of the team: "Since I have entered the sport as team principal, Westwood have been an ever-present sight across the paddock. Their competitive spirit is best defined by the latter part of 2015, when they were arguably the class of the field, scoring both of their victories in fine fashion. Beyond that, the team, and Harry in particular, have always been refreshingly honest in their appraisal of both their performances and those of their rivals, and they really were a throwback to a bygone era in motorsport. The paddock will be a very different place without those dark green trucks driving into the paddock on Wednesday evening."
In a recent press release, Harry Westwood announced that his team would no longer be able to participate in the sport. This is what he had to say below:
"This is a tricky decision to make, but I feel as though it is the right one. The team has enjoyed some great success over the years and it was fun to be a part of, a real challenge. However recent events in my personal life have left me feeling stretched slightly too thin, and I lost my passion for running a team slightly. I love the sport, but this is a decision I've been mulling over for roughly a year now. We were going to see out the remainder of the season, but unfortunately circumstances have prevented that. I'd like to thank Nic Morley for all of his hard work and constant effort he puts into this series, and every last team we've competed against. It's been the experience of a lifetime, but I feel like it's time for me to step back and allow some fresh blood into the sport. To everybody in the paddock, thankyou from the bottom of my heart."
Rumours are circulating the paddock that Westwood had intended to make this season their last, however due to recent events sponsors have lost their patience. Renault spoke to us exclusively, saying this:
"His team was brilliant last year, and we thought Westwood Renault would really work out. They were working pretty hard to fix their car this year and as a manufacturer we understand that sometimes the performance isn't there in the car immediately. However, and I know Harry is well known for his party animal reputation, his behaviour was his downfall. I believe sponsors began leaving because of his wild behaviour, and after the public rows he's been engaging in of late, the rest must have followed suit, as they told us they simply don't have the money for our engines any longer. It's a real shame, but that's motorsport."
Meteor are to split with engine partner Virgin at the end of the season just three years into their troubled partnership. This news follows Virgins decision to terminate its Formula Virtual engine project.
Paul Ricard, France
In an interview with L'Equipe, DS Automobiles Team Principal Arthur Lapierre suggested that the decisions made by the FVA stewards in the wake of a chaotic Malaysian V-Prix need to set a precedent by which other decisions must be made.
"After the race, Formula Virtual as a collective had to make various decisions - Felix [Beyer] getting a race ban is something we agreed with, but other decisions have left us disappointed. Enrique Ruiz ended Allar Kangur's race right at the beginning, and it's far from the first time his actions have ended races of others and ruined what could be a successful weekend."
"When we see drivers being penalised in early races for contact, in China for instance with Will Hoskins receiving a penalty for taking out Giodano, then seeing Ruiz getting away with blatantly removing Kangur from the race, it leaves us baffled. If the precedent has now been set that there is to be no penalties for taking other drivers out, then that is another issue, but first and foremost consistency needs to be applied. Additionally, the fact the "atrocious conditions" were cited as a mitigating factor is confusing, because the weather was dry when the incident occurred."
"We are of course going to accept the final decision of the stewards and move forward from there, but all we as a team want to see is consistency in the penalties. Ultimately, whether or not taking the opposition out should be acceptable or not is a separate discussion (and one where I feel everyone would be on the same page) but at the least, apply the same rules to everybody - perhaps being a championship contender gives greater leeway in the penalty system, but this needs to be made clear."
While the dissatisfaction from the DS factory team has been clear from the start, this is the first time Arthur Lapierre has spoken out publicly about this.
Both Dylan Lopez and Elroy Wagner have expressed their frustrations on the poor standard of driving through out the Malaysian V-Prix.
In the aftermath of the treacherous Malaysian V-Prix, North Star team principal Nick Forrest has spoken out about the incident between Johan Halvosen and Felix Beyer, which led to the immediate retirement of both drivers from the race.
Ocelot Team Principle, Rai Miyamoto, has called out for a serious penalty to be handed towards the drivers responsible for the collision involving Felix Beyer, Johan Halvosen and Viktor Ostberg. ''One of the drivers involved is responsible for destroying Puccio's race and I think this is something to be looked at. Their tyre was completely on the racing line, with Giodano having nowhere to go. But that also that being said what Felix did is seriously dangerous and he needs to be punished for it.''
''It was an missed opportunity today even if Puccio did the best he could with another recovery. We failed the fans today and it just wasn't good enough, there might be some reworkings in the team from this point on with Ingram so close now.''