Sam Bird was kind enough to join me for a catch up on Day 2 of Formula E Pre-Season Testing. His usual approachable and light-hearted self, the Virgin Racing driver has certainly been on a good run of late…
Since we spoke to you last at the Formula E Fan’s Forum Sam, you went and won your home race in London! Can you just relive that experience for us…
Yeah it felt amazing! To win in London was extremely special – in front of sixty thousand people who turned up on the weekend – was a big moment for me. Probably my favourite win of my career so far.
And of course you also won the WEC 6hrs of Silverstone LMP2 race with G-Drive!
Yeah I guess I like winning at home *laughs* because I won in GP2 at home as well, so obviously I must like racing in the UK.
So how have you made sure you keep that winning momentum going over the summer ahead of the new Formula E season?
I’ve been working closely with DS (Citroen brand, and Virgin Racing’s new powertrain partner) and with Virgin to ensure that we have the best possible start to the year. I think everybody’s put in a great amount of effort, fair play to everyone who’s been involved in the project so far, they’ve done a sterling job. We’re here at Donington for the first official tests and everything seems to be ok so far, the car seems to be reliable and all the system checks that we’re doing seem to be going ok.
The team is chasing performance and not lap times at the moment then?
Times here really don’t matter. The track is so vastly different to anything that we ever come across in the championship that I’m not worried about single lap times around here. If we chased lap times, then the setup wouldn’t be what it is right now.
#Fanboost looks like it may well be less effective this year with the cars running an extra 20kw during the race. What are your thoughts on that?
Well to be honest I didn’t get that many FanBoosts last year, I only got one and that was in a race where I had a crash at the first corner. So I personally don’t have much experience of how much FanBoost effects things. The guy to ask would be JEV because he got quite a few…
And that leads me nicely on to JEV. New teammate this year… I’ve seen the two of you in the garage, you obviously get on very well together…
Yeah it’s gonna be great. He’s a great guy, a very likeable chap, obviously extremely quick and we have a good mutual respect for each other on the circuit.
You’ve tweeted before about the pay driver situation in Formula 1, I think there are a number of fans getting frustrated with the sport at the moment. Do you think people’s eyes are being opened to the likes of Formula E and the WEC as a result?
The fans seem to enjoy Formula E for the fact that the driver line up is pretty damn good. The drivers are here because they deserve to be here and the teams are paying their drivers for their services in this championship; where as in other high end motorsport formula’s that isn’t necessarily the case.
And of course these other series are providing fans with great racing, accessibility and value for money.
Yeah you know, there’s things that the pinnacle of motorsport championship could do to improve that’s for sure.
Ok, now we asked the fans on twitter for their questions for you…
@14alonsofans asks… Who do you think is your biggest competitor for the Formula E title?
I mean there’s so many, I could name 10 people; but of course the first thing to do is compete and beat my teammate JEV. That’s going to be extremely tough, he’s a good guy and very, very quick driver, so I need to knuckle down and drive to the best of my ability.
@jlpsugus: Are you scared about the possibility of one team dominating for victories like Mercedes in F1?
That’s something that is always a concern in championships that don’t become a single spec. but that’s what’s exciting about them. Your chance to develop and learn and progress as a team is exciting and that’s what we want to do, we want to be innovative, we want to push the boundaries and come up with new concepts and new ideas and that’s what motorsport should be about. That technology can go on to the road and make the road cars of today better, last longer, more durable, safer, whatever it may be. That’s why we are racing drivers and why we are race teams.
@JoePanikk: How many gears does the new DSVirginRacing powertrain have?
Not very many… *laughs* It’s very minimal up-shifts and downshifts this year for me.
And one last question Sam…
@SpannersReady: Do you own a slow cooker?
A slow cooker no… I own a NutriBullet but not a slow cooker. I like to cook out of my NutriBullet, in other words I like my smoothies *smiles*
Have to say I like a good smoothie as well. Cheers Sam!
Written by Tom Clancy @Retro_F1