DS Virgin Racing has announced that British driver Sam Bird has retained his seat for the 2015-16 Formula E season and will be partnered in the garage by French racing driver, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Bird, who represented the Virgin Racing team in the inaugural season of the FIA Formula E championship, won as many races as the eventual championship winner, including the London finale and a dominant victory in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The 28-year-old was one of the most impressive drivers in the first FIA Formula E season picking up three podiums and two fastest laps, in addition to his two race wins.
Having secured three pole positions and three podium finishes in year one of the FIA Formula E Championship, including a pole position at his very first race, Vergne is a very exciting addition to the DS Virgin Racing team. After success in British Formula Three, Formula Renault 3.5 Series, and three seasons in Formula One, the 25-year-old not only brings blistering speed but also valuable experience to the DS Virgin Racing team.
Sam Bird said, “Last season was a learning curve but one I thoroughly enjoyed, so I’m elated to be back with the DS Virgin Racing team for the 2015/16 season. We had two great wins last season in Malaysia and then at my home race in London, so the aim is to build on that success and have a fantastic second season in Formula E. The advancements to the car around the powertrain are really exciting so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel shortly in Donington to get some good testing in before the first race in Beijing.”
Jean-Eric Vergne said, “I am delighted to be joining the DS Virgin Racing Team at such an exciting time for the team, and also for the series given the new regulations for season two. With the DS brand coming on board as a new partner to the team, I am looking forward to being aligned with a French, forward thinking marque. I understand that there are a number of exciting things going on behind the scenes that should ensure that we have a competitive start to the season. Looking back to my first race of last season where I qualified on pole, I am very excited to be getting back into a racing seat at the first race of the season in October. I am confident that my raw pace and appetite for success will help ensure that DS Virgin Racing continues to be one of the leading teams in Formula E.”
Alex Tai, DS Virgin Racing Team Principal, said, “We are thrilled to have retained Sam and to be able to welcome Jean-Eric to the DS Virgin Racing team for season two of the FIA Formula E championship. Both Sam and Jean-Eric are exceptional talents and I believe we now have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid. I’m looking forward to being able to compete for regular honours from race to race, and following the announcement of our partnership with the DS brand at the end of last season, I am very happy that the good news for the team keeps on coming.”
The second FIA Formula E season will commence in Beijing on the 17th October 2015 with summer testing starting on 10th August 2015 at Donington Park.