| Downton BD02
The Downton BD02 was a Formula Virtual racing car designed by Downton to compete in the 2014 F1F Virtual Grand Prix Championship. It was driven by 2013 World Drivers' Champion Nathaniel Powers and Marcus Thunder. The BD02 was the first car built to use Downton's new self designed engine, the Downton DS-2014.
After a shaky start in testing the team moved steadily up the time sheets and ended the pre-season solidly in the midfield.
The BD02 had an unusual start to competitive life in the practice session for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix with Thunder managing ninth fastest but Powers only twentieth, nearly a second off of his teammates time. In Qualifying the gap was closed to six tenths as Powers qualified thirteenth while Thunder was seventh. A strong race and some retirements helped Thunder to fifth in the race while Powers retired from sixteenth following a collision with Romano Agostino and Adrien Simon.
Qualifying in Malaysia ensured the team started a race with both cars in the top ten for the first time ever. This was followed up in the race with the teams first ever double points finish, with Powers leading Thunder home in sixth and seventh.
Bahrain was another high moment for Downton, as Powers qualified third on the grid, the highest ever starting position for the team. This was followed up by second in the race, securing only the teams second podium and highest ever finish. Thunder meanwhile made a mistake in qualifying and started nineteenth, before retiring from the race with suspension failure.
Britain produced Downton's second double top ten start, but the race wasn't as strong. Powers started and finished seventh on a 1-stop strategy but Thunder struggled from ninth on a two stop, finishing down in seventeenth.
The team struggled in Canada with a poor showing in Qualifying leaving Powers and Thunder twelfth and thirteenth on the grid respectively. Both recovered to finish in the points however, with Powers eighth on a one-stop and Thunder tenth on a two.
In the following race in the United States, Powers looked on course for the teams first ever win after some drama amongst the front runners, but was caught out when Karl Beckenbauer slowed suddenly while overtaking the damaged car of Will Hoskins, resulting in Powers running into Beckenbauer and breaking his own front wing. Powers went on to finish eighth with team mate Thunder in tenth again, also taking the fastest lap.
The Spanish round was a disaster for the team after getting off to a good start. Powers qualified 3rd but misfortunes struck in the race and he eventually finished a lowly 15th. Thunder was unfortunate to be involved in an incident caused by Tumo Kinnumen parking on the racing line with failed suspension, and broke his front wing, recovering only to 12th and giving Downton their first non-score of the season.
Portugal was better with the car bringing the team their biggest ever points haul in one race as Powers finished third for his second podium of the season while Thunder was eighth to return to the points.
The French Grand Prix was one of mixed fortunes with Powers second for this third podium of the season and second in a row but with Thunder retiring on lap one in a big accident after partial brake failure and partially missing his braking point for the hairpin on lap one, also eliminating Jean Mattson and just avoiding team mate Powers.
Germany was a struggle for the team as the car lacked pace all weekend, although Powers still managed to recover a fifth place finish from ninth on the grid. Thunder wasn't as luck from 15th on the grid, retiring just past mid-distance with an engine failure, the team's first of the season and first ever with their in-built engine.
Austria showed a return to form for the team however, with both Thunder and Powers qualifying inside the top ten, 7th and 10th respectively. The two drivers switched places off the line but both came through the field to finish fifth and sixth in a strong double points finish, Powers once more ahead of Thunder.
Both cars showed strong again in Belgium, with Powers 8th and Thunder 9th on the grid. In a soaking wet race the team weren't confident but both drivers kept it on the circuit and managed to finish 5th and 7th, with Thunder leading his Champion team mate.
The following two rounds were a disaster for the team however, with no points from Italy or China, although Thunder retired with suspension failure while running 7th in China. Both rounds were attributed to poor qualifying performances and strategies.
The BD02 returned to form in Japan however, with both drivers qualifying inside the top 10 and making the most of the retirements of others and their strategies to finish 3rd and 4th - the teams biggest ever points haul - with Thunder taking his first ever podium for the team.
Another double points finish was scored in Brazil with sixth and seventh , securing the team third in the Constructors Championship for the season after Rossi failed to score. Thunder ended the year with another points finish in sixth in Mexico, but like 2013 Powers struggled to get to grips with the circuit, finishing 14th.
|2014||Downton F1 Team||Downton DS-2014||B||Nathaniel Powers||Ret||6||2||7||8||8||15||3||2||5||5||7||16||11||4||6||14||188||3rd|