|Début||2014 Beijing ePrix|
|Key People||Sylvain Filippi|
|Driver(s)|| Sam Bird (No.2)|
Robin Frijns (No.4)
|Car||Audi e-tron FE06|
|Last Season||3rd (191 pt(s))|
|First Win||2014 Putrajaya ePrix|
|Titles||0 (3rd 2015/16; 2017/18; 2018/19)|
|Entrant||Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team|
|Sam Bird||Robin Frijns|
|3rd (28 Pt(s))||13th (10 Pt(s))|
|3rd (38 Pt(s))|
Virgin Racing are a British based racing team which competes in the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, having been established as one of the founding teams in the series. Currently a customer team in FE, having previously been known DS Virgin Racing when in partnership with DS Automobiles from 2015 until 2017/18, Envision Virgin Racing have used Audi built powertrains since the 2018/19 season.
In four seasons of FE, Virgin have twice finished third in the Teams' Championship, while lead driver Sam Bird came close to winning the Drivers Championship in 2017/18. However, after three seasons with DS backing, Virgin were forced to purchase a set of powertrains from Audi for the 2018/19 campaign, with the French manufacturer moving to Techeetah.
Their first season with Audi power saw Virgin once again challenge for the Teams' Championship, picking up three wins en-route to third in the Championship.
Founded specifically for the Formula E championship (having previously competed in Formula One in 2010 and 2011), Virgin have the backing of Sir Richard Branson, an entrepreneur, business men and owner of the Virgin brand. The team hope to bring their experience in other fields (such as aviation and Virgin Galactic) to the championship to improve the series as a whole.
Formula E History
Virgin Racing were one of the first teams to be entered for the championship, with Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari named as their drivers. After a podium in Beijing, Bird claimed the team's first victory at the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix, setting up a period where many thought he and Virgin could sustain a title challenge. It was not to be however, as fortune deserted Bird over the following rounds, while Alguersuari continued to take only minor points.
Virgin's season only picked up again at the double header in their home city of London at the end of the season, where Alguersuari, following a health scare in Moscow, was replaced by Fabio Leimer. Although Bird still had a mathematical chance of taking the title, he was eliminated from the fight almost immediately as he failed to take pole. Despite that set back, Bird put in a strong drive in the Second London ePrix that ended the season to take a second victory, having pushed Stéphane Sarrazin hard enough that the Frenchman used all of his energy. Virgin ended the season in fifth, having been unlucky at many times during the season.
Bird will return with the team for season two with Jean-Éric Vergne joining the team, following Alguersuari's retirement from motorsport.
French connectionDuring the London double header at the end of 2014/15, Virgin announced they would be using a powertrain built by DS Automobiles, the racing subsidiary of Citroën for the 2015/16 Championship. The backing from Citroën saw Bird and Vergne get a seriously competitive car for the season, with both drivers threatening the top times of the 2015 Donington Test. Yet, the season opener would not go to plan, with Bird only managing to secure second, while Vergne missed out on points all together.
Into the second round of the season and Bird once again showed his true colours, just falling shy of victory in the 2015 Putrajaya ePrix, the sight of his maiden win. Minor points and a retirement followed in Punta del Este, before Bird put together an excellent display at the 2016 Buenos Aires ePrix to take a first win of the season from pole. That performance started a run of form for Bird where he frequently claimed a spot in the Super Pole shootout, taking two poles, but fell short due to mistakes in the races.
Vergne, meanwhile, would have a fairly quiet season until the 2016 Paris ePrix, where the Frenchman finally found some form to finish on the podium at his home race. A pole was then converted into a fifth place finish in Berlin, before the Frenchman took a second podium of the season in the 2016 London ePrix I. The final weekend of the season saw Virgin just fend off a late challenge from Dragon Racing for third, with the Anglo-French effort beating the American squad by a single point to finish third overall.
Vergne left the team at the end of the season to join the new Techeetah effort, leaving a vacant seat at DS Virgin for the 2016/17 season. Citroën pushed to have one of their drivers come into the team, with Virgin agreeing to hand José María López a seat in the team, the Argentine already a renowned racing driver with multiple WTCC titles. Bird remained as their team leader, with the pair using the new car to great effect in the 2016 Donington Test, with both getting into the top half of table in terms of overall pace.
Four Star Start
For 2017/18 Virgin would pick Alex Lynn to partner Sam Bird, with López leaving the team in hopes of securing a drive elsewhere, while DS continued to supply the team as "works" entry. After a relatively quiet pre-season test in Valencia, Bird would win the opening race of the season in Hong Kong, beating pole sitter Vergne. Bird went on to finish fifth in the second race of the weekend to secure himself at the head of the Championship, while Lynn claimed a handful of points with eighth.
Bird's lead in the Championship would be reduced in Marrakech as he finished third, before Antonio Giovinazzi and Joel Eriksson took part in the 2018 Rookie Test for the team. Unfortunately for Virgin the "Rookie Test" would benefit their rivals more than themselves, for Bird could only finish fifth in Santiago, while Lynn retired. An even more disappointing weekend in Mexico City followed, before Bird finally returned to the podium in Punta del Este, with Lynn achieving his best finish of the season in sixth.
Bird's good form carried on into the 2018 Rome E-Prix, with the Brit scything to victory after pressuring title rival Felix Rosenqvist into making a race ending mistake mid-way through the race. Another third place finish followed in Paris for Bird, with the Brit finishing with three wheels on his car after late contact with André Lotterer, although Lynn again failed to score. The team then paid the price for the way that DS' powertrain harnessed energy in Berlin, with the longer, flowing layout meaning Bird could only claim a handful of points.
Virgin were far stronger in the 2018 Zürich E-Prix as Bird finished second, although another poor display by Lynn meant that their Teams' Championship hopes were all but over. Bird himself, meanwhile, would head to the season finale in New York City with a shot at the title, if he could beat Vergne in either race. Yet, the updated Brooklyn Street Circuit did not suit the DS powertrain, causing both Bird and Virgin to drop to third on the final day of the season, overhauled by Lucas di Grassi and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.
DS withdrew their backing from Virgin Racing at the end of the 2017/18 season, meaning the Virgin squad had to find a new powertrain supplier for 2018/19. Speculation suggested that Virgin would therefore purchase their powertrains from 2017/18 Teams' Champions Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, with a potential deal to run an Audi factory driver potentially in the works. That deal was subsequently confirmed prior to the 2018 Valencia Test, with factory Audi driver Robin Frijns also signed to partner Bird for the fifth FE campaign.
The opening round of the season in Ad Diriyah would see the two Virgins fight with the two factory Audis for minor points, although ultimately neither Bird nor Frijns would score. Yet, the duo bounced back at the following Marrakech E-Prix, with Bird sweeping to pole position, while Frijns also beat the two factory Audis. Unfortunately for Virgin Bird would be unable to hold onto the lead, although both himself and Frijns would finish on the podium after a last lap battle with Jérôme d'Ambrosio for the win.
Indeed, Virgin would have to wait until the following round in Santiago to grab their first win of the season, with Bird claiming victory after race long battles with Sébastien Buemi and Pascal Wehrlein. Yet, having moved to the top of the Championship neither Bird nor Virgin could gather momentum, with the Brit only managing to score a ninth place finish in Mexico City, while Frijns failed to score. A stronger performance in Hong Kong followed, with Bird crossing the line first, only to be relegated to sixth courtesy of a penalty for causing a race deciding collision with André Lotterer. The Brit's demotion would, however, leave Frijns on the podium.
Bird's season would unravel from that point on, the Brit going on a four race pointless streak beginning with a lap one accident at the 2019 Sanya E-Prix. Frijns, meanwhile, would emerge as a title pretender, claiming fourth in Rome before claiming a maiden FE victory in changeable conditions in Paris, surviving a wave of race interruptions and hail. Yet, Frijns too would see his title ambitions evaporate over the following races, entering his own four race pointless streak including two retirements in Bern and the New York City E-Prix I, both the result of collision damage.
Bird, meanwhile, would get back into the points in Berlin, although even an excellent performance, which saw the Brit pull several daring overtakes to claim fourth, were not enough to keep him in the title hunt ahead of the finale in New York. Furthermore, Virgin themselves were out of the Teams' Championship, in-spite of Frijns' second win of the season in the season ending 2019 New York City E-Prix II, the Dutchman producing a dominant performance after wrestling the lead from Alexander Sims early on. That, combined with a fourth place finish for Bird, who was stuck behind Sims and Buemi throughout, left Virgin in third in the Championship with 191 points to their name, just twelve behind the factory Audi team.
Envision Enhancements?: 2019/20
Formula E Record
The tables below show Virgin Racing's full record in the FIA Formula E Championship.
Formula E Entries
The table below given and overview of Virgin Racing's entries in Formula E:
|Virgin Racing's overall Formula E Record|
|Season||Official name||No.||Drivers||DC Pos.||DC Pts.||Car||TC Pos.||TC Pts.|
|2014/15||Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||5th||103||Spark-Renault SRT_01E||5th||133|
|2015/16||DS Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||4th||88||DS Virgin DSV-01||3rd||144|
|2016/17||DS Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||4th||122||DS Virgin DSV-02||4th||190|
|37||José María López||9th||65|
|2017/18||DS Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||3rd||143||DS Virgin DSV-03||3rd||160|
|2018/19||Envision Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||9th||85||Audi e-tron FE05||3rd||191|
|2019/20||Envision Virgin Racing||2||Sam Bird||Audi e-tron FE06|
Listed below are the full career results of Virgin Racing:
|FIA Formula E Championship Record|
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sam Smith, 'Virgin Brand to Remain in Formula E for 2019-20', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media LLC., 25/07/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/virgin-brand-to-remain-in-formula-e-for-2019-20/, (Accessed 25/07/2019)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 'Teams: Virgin Racing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/teams/virgin-racing.aspx, (Accessed 19/07/2015)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Gary Watkins, 'Citroen DS brand joins forces with Virgin in Formula E for 2015/16', autosport.com, (Haymarket Media, 27/07/2015), http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/119713, (Accessed 19/07/2015)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 'Di Grassi victorious as Vergne clinches championship crown', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/07/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/july/di-grassi-victorious-as-vergne-clinches-championship-crown/, (Accessed 15/07/2018)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Virgin Racing to run Audi e-tron FE05 cars for Season 5', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 21/09/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/september/virgin-racing-to-run-audi-e-tron-fe05-cars-for-season-5/, (Accessed 21/09/2018)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 'Frijns wins while Vergne claims historic two-time Championship title in New York', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/07/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/july/race-report-nyc-2-2019, (Accessed 15/07/2019)
- ↑ 'Sam Bird seals victory in the Putrajaya ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/11/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/november/sam-bird-seals-victory-in-the-putrajaya-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 30/04/2015)
- ↑ 'Leimer replaces Alguersuari for London', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/06/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/leimer-replaces-alguersuari-for-london.aspx, (Accessed 25/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Bird hails ‘unbelievable’ end to season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/bird-hails-unbelievable-end-to-season.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Buemi to the max in Beijing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/10/2015),http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/buemi-wins-swusp-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 25/10/2015)
- ↑ 'Di Grassi keeps his cool to win in Putrajaya', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/di-grassi-keeps-his-cool-to-win-in-putrajaya.aspx, (Accessed 22/11/2015)
- ↑ 'Bird holds off Buemi for BA win', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/02/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/february/bird-holds-off-buemi-for-ba-win.aspx, (Accessed 22/03/2016)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 'Di Grassi triumphant in Paris', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/04/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/april/di-grassi-wins-visa-paris-eprix/, (Accessed 23/04/2016)
- ↑ 'BUEMI AND DI GRASSI CHARGE UP THE ORDER, BUT IT’S PROST WHO LEADS THE WAY', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/prost-wins-in-style-as-di-grassi-inches-closer-to-title/, (Accessed 03/07/2016)
- ↑ 'BUEMI WINS TITLE AFTER SPECTACULAR FINALE: VISA FASTEST LAP ENDS UP DECIDING THE 2015/16 FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/buemi-wins-title-after-spectacular-finale/, (Accessed 04/07/2016)
- ↑ 'TEN TEAMS ENTERED FOR THE 2016-17 FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/ten-teams-entered-for-the-2016-17-fia-formula-e-championship/, (Accessed 08/07/2016)
- ↑ 'DS VIRGIN RACING CONFIRM NEW LINE UP FOR 2016/17 FORMULA E SEASON: JOSE MARIA LOPEZ TO PARTNER BRITISH DRIVER SAM BIRD', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/ds-virgin-racing-confirm-new-line-up-for-201617-fia-formula-e-season/, (Accessed 08/07/2016)
- ↑ 'Lynn joins Bird for full-time drive at DS Virgin', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 05/09/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/september/lynn-joins-bird-for-full-time-drive-at-ds-virgin/, (Accessed 05/09/2017)
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 'Bird clinches victory in Hong Kong', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/12/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/december/bird-clinches-victory-in-hong-kong/, (Accessed 16/12/2017)
- ↑ 'Formula E rookie test driver line-up revealed', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 04/01/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/january/formula-e-rookie-test-driver-line-up-revealed/, (Accessed 04/01/2018)
- ↑ 'Vergne steals the show in epic Santiago E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/02/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/february/vergne-steals-the-show-in-epic-santiago-e-prix/, (Accessed 03/02/2018)
- ↑ 'JEV holds off di Grassi in battle for Punta del Este', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 17/03/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/march/jev-holds-off-di-grassi-in-battle-for-punta-del-este/, (Accessed 17/03/2018)
- ↑ 'Bird claims historic victory in Rome', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/04/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/april/bird-claims-historic-victory-in-rome/, (Accessed 14/04/2018)
- ↑ 'Fairytale ending for home race hero Vergne in Paris', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/04/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/april/fairytale-ending-for-home-race-hero-vergne-in-paris/, (Accessed 29/04/2018)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Sam Smith, 'Vergne, Lotterer to Test DS Performance Gen 2 Car', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 25/05/2018), http://e-racing365.com/formula-e/vergne-lotterer-to-test-ds-performance-gen-2-car/, (Accessed 26/05/2018)
- ↑ Sam Smith, 'Virgin Eyes Audi Power for Season Five', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 22/01/2018), http://e-racing365.com/formula-e/virgin-eyes-audi-power-for-season-five/, (Accessed 26/05/2018)
- ↑ Alex Kalinauckas, 'Virgin reveals Gen2 Formula E livery, hires Frijns', motorsport.com, (Motorsport 05/10/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/virgin-reveals-gen2-formula-e-livery-hires-frijns/3189397/, (Accessed 05/10/2018)
- ↑ 'Race Report: Da Costa - 'We did it baby, we're back!', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/12/2018), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/december/race-report-saudi, (Accessed 15/12/2018)
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 'Mahindra's d'Ambrosio made up with manic win in Marrakesh', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/01/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/january/race-report---2019-marrakesh, (Accessed 12/01/2019)
- ↑ 'Bird storms to victory in sweltering Santiago showdown', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/01/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/january/race-report-santiago-2019, (Accessed 27/01/2019)
- ↑ 'Madness in Mexico sees di Grassi clinch miraculous win in epic photo finish', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 16/02/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/february/race-report-mexico-2019, (Accessed 17/02/2019)
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 'Bird victorious in furious battle for first on Hong Kong Harbourfront', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/race-report-hong-kong-2019, (Accessed 11/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Vergne victorious in Sanya showdown, championship blown wide open', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/race-report-sanya-2019, (Accessed 23/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Frijns emerges victorious in frantic French E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/04/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/april/race-report-paris-2019, (Accessed 27/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Buemi wins in New York but disaster for Champ Vergne extends title challenge', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/07/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/july/race-report-nyc-2019, (Accessed 14/07/2019)
- ↑ 'Vergne victorious in frantic battle for Bern ahead of Championship finale', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/06/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/june/race-report-bern-2019, (Accessed 23/06/2019)