Formula E is currently in its debut season. Amidst around the world racing circuits, celebrity endorsements and involvement in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio and considerable investment from well known corporations, Formula E appears to thriving in the competitive world of motor sports.
SBC’s Sam Cooke spoke to Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird about the sport, Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing, and his predictions for the remaining four ePrixs.
SBC: Hi Sam, and thanks for taking time out of training to talk to SBC. Virgin Racing are currently ranked in third place, with four remaining ePrixs this season. After a particularly successful outing at the Putrajaya ePrix in Malaysia, you’ve still an outside chance of winning the driver championship. Has this exceeded your expectations for the inaugural season?
Sam: Our ambition as a team is to win the championship and there is still a possibility that I can win the driver championship. I’m competitive, so I always want to go out and win races.
I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised by our success. Virgin Racing have created a very strong team with two great drivers in myself and Jaime Alguersuari, and we entered the series with the intention of leading the way on and off the circuit. Hopefully we can push on in the final few races of the season and work towards that championship win.
SBC: What made Virgin decide to launch its own Formula E team, and how popular do you think it can get? Will we see the day wherein it rivals Formula One?
Sam: Virgin is an ambitious company and that’s one of the reasons I was keen to get involved with them as a driver. They are forward thinking and want to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, so Formula E definitely makes sense.
I’m really proud to be involved with the Virgin Racing team. I think that Formula E is already popular with fans and it is going from strength to strength. If it keeps growing at the same rate it is, then there’s no limit as to how popular it can get. As for rivalling Formula One, that is not something that the championship wants to do.
Our aim is not to rival other motorsport series. Formula E is unique and that’s what makes it so great to be involved in
SBC: In terms of audiences, Monaco was a sell-out, and the tickets for Berlin are selling fast. To what do you attribute such sales levels,and this immediate high level of interest from fans worldwide?
Sam: I think that everyone is interested in Formula E because it’s so new. It also has something for everyone.
For example, if you’re into technology then Formula E is really interesting. If you care about the environment then it’s appealing, and if you’re into motorsport then the driver line-up in Formula E guarantees great racing.
The reaction that I have seen from fans across the world has been incredible and especially for the Virgin Racing team. We have great support on social media too and so to see support both online and offline at races is brilliant.
SBC: Finally, with four races still to be held in Berlin, Moscow, and the final two on home turf in London, what are your predictions for the final leaderboard
Sam: We’ve had a couple of bad races to start 2015 but if we can have strong performances in Berlin and Moscow heading into the finale in London then there is no reason why Virgin Racing, and myself, can’t be up there battling for the championship.
Sam Bird – Formula E Driver – Virgin Racing