Nathaniel Powers and Will Hoskins will swap seats for the remaining two races of 2015, in a dual announcement from Downton and Westwood that has stunned the paddock.
The two teams are currently embroiled in a battle for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
Downton team principal Bradley Downton opened the announcement with a statement following the conclusion of the Mexican V-Prix. "We are delighted to announce - along with Westwood - that Nathaniel Powers will drive for them in the remaining two races of 2015, the Chinese and Japanese V-Prix's. As a result, we welcome aboard Will Hoskins for the remaining two races."
Downton went on to explain why his team had decided on the switch. "We all know - within the team and within the Formula Virtual community - that Nathaniel is an exceptional driver, and one that should be fighting at the very front. He has made it public knowledge that this is what he wants, and I don't blame him. Once we were satisfied we were fairly safe in fifth place in the Championship - we fully expect to lose fourth to Westwood who are having a much better end to the season than us - we spoke to Nathaniel and asked who he felt he would have the best chance to win a race with this season, or to fight at the front. He replied with Westwood, and so we got in touch, the rest - as they say - is history. And no, the irony of having our own driver assist in beating us in the Championship is not lost on me or the team, but as I said, we fully expect to fall behind regardless."
Harry Westwood - team principal of the Westwood team - added, "We wanted to assess Kinnumen against another driver to observe how well he's developed, so when Bradley called about Powers, we all thought it was a good opportunity."
Downton concluded, "Nathaniel wants to win, and we're giving him the opportunity with this loan, as unfortunately we are not in a position to provide him with a car that can fight at the front just yet, but we will be soon. Nathaniel knows the teams plan and is being very patient and helping us develop, so giving him a shot at what he wants is - in my eyes at least - a fair return."
Powers was quoted as stating he was, "over the moon" with the agreement and that he "appreciates everything that Bradley and the team are doing for me." He also added he felt "more at home than ever" with Downton and "more respected" because of this deal. Will Hoskins was unavailable for comment.