After four years in the championship, Prema Powerteam has announced its withdrawal from the World Series by Renault with immediate effect, after reaching an agreement with Fortec Motorsport to take over its grid slot from 2010 onwards.
Prema ended the 2009 Renault WS campaign in bottom place in the teams' standings, with just 13 points to its name courtesy of the combined efforts of Julian Leal, Frankie Provenzano, Stefano Coletti and Filip Salaquarda – with a third place for the former in Budapest contributing significantly to that total.
Prior to that, Ben Hanley had finished as championship runner-up for the Italian outfit in its sophomore season in 2007, with Miguel Molina placing fourth the following year – but now Prema has come to the decision to focus its efforts entirely on its F3 activities, both in its homeland and in the hotly-disputed Euroseries.
“The European developmental open-wheel panorama is changing these days and Prema, like all the other teams involved in the major racing series' around Europe, is called to re-focus and optimise its resources for the future,” explained the Veneto-based operation's team manager Renè Rosin.
“For this reason, we're ending operations in Formula Renault 3.5 and concentrating on the Formula 3 championships we've been involved in for the last 20 years. Our stint in the World Series has been great, and has left us with some valuable memories and trophies won.”
'Prema Powerteam thanks the series' sanctioning bodies, Renault Sport Technologies and RPM, for the professional and human relation that turned the four years in the championship into an extremely valuable and enjoyable experience,' added a team statement.
Fortec ran under the banner of Mofaz Fortec this year, after the Malaysian company purchased a stake in the British concern. After the two parties split this winter, Mofaz snatched the final grid spot for 2010 – but Prema's departure means both entities will be present next season, albeit now as rivals.