Post race comments from a selection of teams and drivers following the 2015 Spanish V-Prix.
The saga between Liverpool and Downton regarding their engine supply has shown no signs of letting up, with Bradley Downton giving a vigorous defence of his team of engineers.
The main issue seems to surround the difference between the two engines, with Vauxhall providing additional tuning to the Liverpool’s power units. Liverpool’s engineers are of the opinion that Downton have provided Vauxhall with substandard units to counter the work done in Ellesmere Port, while Downton have strongly denied these claims, suggesting Vauxhall themselves are the ones to blame. Meanwhile, Ocelot have also come out and spoken severely about the Downton units, with Downton’s High Performance Engines division clarifying the relationship between Downton and its two customers.
Downton and Liverpool’s Arthur Lapierre have been in discussion about how to solve these issues, and after the latest round of talks, Lapierre has insisted that Vauxhall end its closed door policy.
Talking to assembled media, Lapierre said: ‘When we entered into the deal with Vauxhall, they, and us, were fiercely proud of the work that was done to become competitive immediately. As such, when we brought Downton into the fold, they were reluctant to share all of their data, and we reached an agreement for Vauxhall to take off-the-shelf Downton units and tune them for us.’
‘We were pleased with our performance over pre-season, but we have fallen back from the sharp end of the grid, and we need to find out why. The only way I can see the solution is to co-operate even more. Bradley has been exceptionally supportive and wants to get this solved, so I’ve issued an ultimatum: Vauxhall must let Downton engineers into the factory otherwise our contract with them will be terminated immediately rather than us letting it expire at the end of the year, no questions asked. The Downton HPE director, Monsieur Austin said, and I quote, that we are ‘insisting the engine is sent elsewhere to be butchered by people who have no idea what they’re doing or how it was built’. Getting him and his team into the Vauxhall factory will show us whether this is true.’
‘I hope this gives us an idea of what needs doing, and for us, it’s a real option to take factory Downton units, while there is also the possibility for us to start the DS-Downton partnership half a season early, or even commit to building factory Citroen units. Whatever the outcome, those responsible for our engine’s issues will be held to account, and whatever happens over the next few weeks and months, contracts WILL be terminated.’
This issue looks set to run and run, with the race in Jerez the first chance for Downton engineers to analyse the data from the Vauxhall units.
Paul Ricard, 10/11/2015
Today, DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw confirmed their second driver signing for 2016, with Adrien Simon being retained for the Anglo-French outfit after three seasons with the team. He will be joined by Dutch rookie and Westwood protégé Jochem van Snelheid.
Arthur Lapierre and Simon were seen in the Liverpool motorhome shortly after qualifying in Jerez, and it is believed he has signed a one year deal with the option of another two.
In the media ring, Lapierre was quoted as being 'absolutely ecstatic that Simon has committed to another season in FV with the team', and that the team has 'big plans with him at the forefront'.
As part of the new contract, Adrien Simon is also signed up to drive the Citroen DS9 Hybride for DS Automobiles Equipe Lapierre in the Virtual Nurburgring 24 Hours race.
James Austin - the Technical Director of Downton's High Performance Engines - has this afternoon come out in defence of his teams engine and the power it supplies following earlier complaints from customer team Ocelot, amidst on-going tension between Downton and Liverpool.
Ocelot Team Principle, Rai Miyamoto has recently broken his silence on the comments between Downton and Lapierre on the engines which Downton supply, Earlier today Bradley Downton said that he believed that Lapiere's comments on the engines were unjust stating that the problem lied with Liverpool's engine tuner Vauxhall and not with the factory team.
Rai Miyamoto had the following to say when questioned on what he thought of the Downton engines. ''We are rather happy with the engine and have had no issues with it. After all being a new team and adapting this technology can be difficult transition however even though we have not faced any problems currently, we do believe that the engine does need to supply more power to help us catch the competition especially with how the field seems to be behind Franklin.''
Miyamoto also went on to say: ''Currently we have a contract with Downton for next season and our partnership is something we value quite highly hence why we decided to offer a seat to Thunder, although unfortunately for the 2017 Season, we will be looking at the market at valuing our options of possibly branching out to another supplier's engines, for example if Honda became available then it would be something we would consider highly.''
Downton FV team principal Bradley Downton has tonight moved to defend his team and engine after the earlier complaints from Liverpool team principal Arthur Lapierre. Lapierre claimed 'the thing that holds us back is the engine', and that 'whoever is at fault will be held responsible and replaced'.
During the post-Qualifying press conference today, Liverpool team principal Arthur Lapierre today lamented his team's relative lack of pace to Franklin today, saying the team couldn't get any more out of the package they had, in particular the Vauxhall-tuned Downton engine.
'We have to admit we don't look very good here. Adrien made a lap of the gods to get that close, and Karl was on the limit too. The positions in the classification make us concerned about the qualifying and race, then there is a lot of worry in the team about the level we are performing at, perhaps even falling behind from where we were last season. We can't fault the driver's commitment, Karl and Adrien give 100% and even more, and the chassis seems to perform well in low speed sections. But, no matter how well we build the car, the thing that holds us back is the engine. We have enjoyed working with Downton and Vauxhall until now, but we've uncovered issues with the engine compared to our rivals and even the other teams running the Downton motor. There is a saying in French - 'A qui la tête fait mal, souffre par tout le corps' - if the head is unwell, the whole body suffers. This is us now, and things need to change, we need to make our head well again. We aren't sure if the problem is in the engine itself or with the tuning and modifications made by Vauxhall, but whoever is at fault will be held responsible and replaced. DS Automobiles arrive with us for 2016 anyway of course, and for us to continue with Downton engines we need to solve our problems, otherwise we may have to consider other options including using fully in-house built Citroën DS engines.'
It remains to be seen how Downton react to this public complaint from Liverpool, but it is believed that the Amesbury-based manufacturer are eager to solve any issues between themselves and the Anglo-French team as soon as possible, whether through engineering a solution or ending the deal altogether.