Former Formula 1 Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari and former Mercedes F1 reserve Sam Bird are confirmed to drive for Virgin Racing in the inaugural season of the fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship. The 24-year-old Spaniard returns to racing after nearly three years of absence after he wasn’t able to pursuit his Formula 1 career. The 27-year-old Bird combines his Formula E duties with racing for Ferrari in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Virgin, known for its pioneering ventures in aviation, space and racing, stepped logically on board of world’s first championship with electric vehicles. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, said: “Jaime and Sam are young yet experienced drivers and fantastic guys off the racetrack to boot. I’m delighted to welcome them both to the Virgin Racing family. Jaime has demonstrated speed and talent at the very highest level whilst Sam is a proven race winner. I am sure they will be a formidable force on the circuits, let sparks fly!”
Alex Tai, Team Principal of Virgin Racing Formula E Team, said: “Jaime and Sam are exceptional talents and real fighters on the racetrack, who bring with them experience of Formula One and racing at the highest level. Virgin has always been renowned for its technological innovation and for backing young talent, and we’re looking forward to giving both drivers the equipment they deserve to show just how good they are.”
The drivers, of course, can’t wait to test the cars. “I’m thrilled to be driving for an organisation like Virgin. I’m going to be driving for a great team with a wealth of experience and I can’t wait to get out on the streets and put these cars to the test,” Alguersuari said. Bird continued: “Formula E is going to be a brilliant experience and I can’t wait to get started on what will be an exciting new challenge in my career. I know I’m going to be driving the latest in electric vehicle technology and I’m looking forward to testing myself around the streets of some of the world’s most amazing cities.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “Formula E’s goal is to deliver great racing to fans across the globe and to do that you need high calibre drivers. Jaime Alguersuari and Sam Bird are perfect examples of this and we welcome them both to the FIA Formula E Championship. To date, four of our 20 drivers have been confirmed – with Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi signing for Abt earlier this year – with many more talented drivers to be announced soon along with a few surprises.”
The Virgin Racing Formula E Team is headed by Team Principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing.
So far four out of twenty drivers are confirmed. Earlier Audi Sport ABT Formula E team announced drivers Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt.