James Harding is now a Formula Virtual pole sitter, has joined the list of drivers on the podium in Formula Virtual, and has now confirmed he will race in the 2017 season following his and Lopez's best result to date. Following the Chinese V-Prix Lopez and Harding greeted the media indoors after showers hit Shanghai following the race.
Ocelot team principle Rai Miyamoto confirmed today the team has extended Karl Beckenbauer's contract by 1 year, meaning the German who recently moved to the team for the 2016 season will now partner current team mate Puccio Giodano for an extra year. However rumors in the Japanese paddock have began circling in terms of what the home outfit will look to do for the 2018 season especially with Australian, Hunter Ryan waiting in the wings in the team's driver academy.
Although another rumor has suggested the team favor Puccio Giodano as their long term option to lead them forward in the future especially with Beckenbauer turning 30 this year. However the rumors did not stop there as one went on to say the reason for the Giodano signing was to convince Ferrari to supply the team for 2017 should they move on from Downton.
Rai Miyamoto was approached about this particular rumor and had the following to say. ''First of all, I'd like to say we are extremely proud to have resigned Karl to the team for the 2017 season and that this does not mean we are looking to move on from him as we will value our assets and the driver market carefully next year but for now don't count the guy out. As for Hunter, we were extremely pleased to sign him to the academy and feel like he is someone we could potentially see driving for the team but it's still too early, the kid is young and we don't want to put so much pressure on him.
Finally I'd like to address the engine rumor, we are currently very pleased with the engine supplied by Downton and that there are no issues. We are evaluating all of our options before making a move and with that in mind, the media will continue to name drop as many manufacturers as possible whether it's Ferrari, Honda, Porsche or even Chevrolet.''
Karl Beckenbauer was also approached after being signed to a new 1 year deal. ''I'm very pleased to remain with the team and to partner Puccio next year, I think already we have a pretty strong dynamic together. I'm grateful with what the team had achieved so far and granted we didn't do our best in China after a great qualifying result, I hope to be able to better at our home race here in Japan.''
Hello and welcome to the official Australian V-Prix pre-race press conference ahead of the opening race of the 2016 Formula Virtual season. Please welcome from left to right on the back row, Olen Inman from DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw; Nathaniel Powers from the Downton FV Team and Kiara Thunder from Olsbergs Team Holmqvist. And on the front row we have Puccio Giodano of Ocleot Japan Racing, Douglas Bacon from FIRST Motorsport and local hero James Harding from the Lopez FV Team.
Puccio Giodano has signed for Ocelot for the 2016 season, he will be partnered by Karl Beckenbaur who Ocelot signed early last season. The news comes following Kiara Thunder's move to new team Holmqvist after Ocelot decided that they would instead try and secure the services of Puccio Giodano following Rossi dropping out of the 2016 championship.
Rai Miyamoto had the following to say on the matter. ''We would first like to say that we rate Kiara quite highly and that we wish her the very best at Holmqvist, although after finding out that Giodano's services were available, it was an opportunity we couldn't miss especially securing him to a two year deal which could end up doing wonders for us.''
Giodano seemed ecstatic about the new season after securing a drive. ''It's fantastic to still be on the grid, I was contacted quite late as I originally had a contract with Rossi, although I'm very happy to be here with Ocelot for hopefully a start of many things to come!.''
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