Downton FV Team and DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw - who each have an engine group that combine to build and tune the engines run by both teams in the Formula Virtual series - have this evening announced that despite previous reports, DS Downton will power Lopez FV Team in the 2017 Formula Virtual season.
Back in July the teams issued a statement withdrawing the engine supply to both Lopez and Ocelot, whom they have powered this season. Since then Ocelot have switched to Honda power, but no news has come from Lopez.
The statement did quote however: "The Lopez FV Team have not made as many noises (as Ocelot) regarding an engine supply however, and we do not believe they have a back-up having only just come on board this year. As such we are willing to re-look at this contract."
And in a press conference tonight here in Brazil on the eve of the championship decider - in which both contenders will be powered by DS Downton engines - Downton High Performance Engines technical director James Austin and Lopez team principal Dylan Lopez announced the parties had come to an agreement.
"Obviously we issued that statement quite early in a season when we - Downton, not DS - felt we had stretched ourselves too thinly with supplying four teams in total," started Austin. "Dylan approached us soon afterwards and declared their intention to commit as long term partners. We discussed this with DS Automobiles and both Robert (Mathershaw) and Arthur (Lapierre), and after many more lengthy discussions with boards and panels, it was agreed a two-year deal with an option for a third we would be happy with. We offered this to Dylan, and he returned the next day with the signed contract."
"It's been a long, difficult process for us to secure our engine deal for 2017 and beyond," Lopez added. "I can't be grateful enough to DS and Downton for allowing us back into their family, we were legit partying inside our skin when they allowed us back. We've enjoyed working with both teams thoroughly this season and we can't wait to see what lies ahead for us. We'd also like to take this opportunity to announce Viktor Östberg will be our reserve driver for the upcoing season."
"I'd just like to finish by saying we're sorry there is no representative from DS Mathershaw here tonight, however as I'm sure you can appreciate they have other things to be worrying about this evening," Austin concluded. "With that, I'd like to wish the team all the best for tomorrow and a thrilling clean fight between their drivers for the title. We will also be doing our upmost together with the DS Automobiles guys and girls to ensure no technical problems with either engine do anything to disrupt the battle."