Bradley Downton - team principal of the Downton F1 Team speaks openly to us about his team, hiring the potential World Champion and the reports that the team are in spiraling into debt.
Neil Allenby (reporter): 'So, you started this season with Parsons and Maxwell, with Scott scoring a podium in Australia, and everything looked promising. Since then however the form has dipped and you are now running Thunder and van Slooten, what went wrong?'
Bradley Downton (team principal): 'I just want to start by saying nothing has gone wrong in terms of our drivers. Scott suffered the unfortunate accident and Kip has been away on paternity leave. We therefore drafted in Marcus from our young driver academy - and he's proved to be hugely impressive - and paired him up with Beyer - who had some strong outings for BMW Zyla - and now van Slooten, who showed strong pace in Belgium before the incident. It's not an ideal situation for us to be changing drivers every weekend but since our car is proving to be so lackluster we've had a need to find the absolute best drivers available to maximise performance and points - something that had been very hard to come by!'
NA: 'So, you're saying it's the development of the car that's gone wrong?'
BD: 'To be frank, yes. But I'm not sure why. We have focused all of our resources so far onto this season's car but it hasn't worked out. The car's gone backwards in terms of performance and we're struggling to understand why. I think we're also suffering from terribly bad luck however. A lot of teams who have since surpassed us in the Championship have been lucky in the fact that they'd had some decent weekends in that both cars have finished in the points, we haven't had that. The only times we've been towards the front was early in the season, and then both our cars suffered reliability issues. It's annoying, and it seems no matter what we do we can't rectify the problem.'
NA: 'So, is that what led to the decision to join the fight for the potential World Champion - Nathaniel Powers?'
BD: 'Honestly - yes. No-one has any idea where anyone else is heading into next season but I don't expect a huge improvement from us in terms of car performance - which is a mighty shame. We therefore knew that we'd need a strong driver to hopefully stretch the car beyond it's limits. This has led to the signing of Nathaniel. He's performed fantastically this year and we were delighted to hear he would be available for next season. When we spoke to him and revealed our plans he was hugely enthusiastic which made the deal a lot easier to do.'
NA: 'So, what about the reports of the team going into debt? We understand that you have spent a considerable amount on drivers for next season, but may not actually get the amount of money you expected come the end of this season?'
BD: 'There's no point lying. This is the most worrying point. A couple of races ago we looked solid in fifth place in the constructors, but since other teams have improved we've slipped dramatically and obviously this is a dire situation as it means we get dramatically less money than for fifth. We've also already signed Powers and spent the money, and can only get 25% of that back even if we decided to release him - which we won't, and that won't help. So yes, this means - as it stands - we are in debt for next season. As you can understand I don't want to go into figures but it's not looking brilliant.'
NA: 'Thanks very much for the honesty Bradley.'
BD: 'No worries, cheers.'