Jamie Alguersuari recently signed with Virgin Racing and will compete in FIA Formula E's inaugural championship season.
Earlier this week Jaime Alguersuari was confirmed as one of Virgin Racing’s two drivers for the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship. We caught up with the Spanish ex-Formula 1 driver to get his thoughts on his new challenge.
How does it feel to be part of the Formula E championship? I’m very happy. I think this project is going very fun. I’m very excited to be a part of something I feel is going to be the future of motorsport. I’m very lucky to be part of this project and I’m very proud of it. I’m very much looking forward to the first race but also to testing the car at the Donington race track. The car looks very cool and very new and I can’t wait to test the car. I think the championship is going to be mega and is going to surprise all of us drivers. It’s going to be great.
What are your expectations of the car? I don’t expect to drive it in the same way as a Formula 1 car because I think there are so many different things that are required. First of all there is the approach to the weekend with all the running on the same day so you have to take care of everything. The technology is very important because there isn’t a huge amount of downforce and not that much mechanical grip either so we have to bear in mind that it’s going to be a fantastic show for everybody. I know I’m going to enjoy driving this, but it’s clear that we have to concentrate on those aspects we have no experience from in the past, but there is plenty of testing in Donington. But in the end for a driver a car is just a car with a steering wheel and two pedals.
What experience do you have of electric vehicles? None, I have never driven an electric car. But from what I can see they are very futuristic with very high technology. A racing car has to be cool and in the videos I’ve seen the car looks fantastic. Something you can expect from electric cars is that all the power is at the bottom with not so much at the top, but that is what it is.
It must be a huge honour to drive for a brand as prestigious as Virgin? For sure. One of the things that made me excited to work with them was their ambition and attitude towards motorsport. They want to have a winning team and one of the reasons I have come to Formula E is that I want to win the championship. It’s been many years now that I haven’t raced anything at all – just tyre testing in Formula 1. And that has been great but it was clear that I couldn’t get back into Formula 1 for economic reasons so I’ve decided to do this and I’m really, really hungry to win and be competitive again and that’s why I got involved with the company – the approach they have, the work ethic – it’s given me a lot of confidence. Everyone is young and have a lot of ideas and I really like the atmosphere and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to make sure I got the drive with them.
You have a competitive team-mate in Sam Bird. Do you think this is a sign of how strong all the driver line-ups are going to be? Yes and I think that’s great. I think it would be hard to get a better driver. I think he has shown everyone that he’s a great driver because he has done in lots of racing series. I think we are going to push each other very hard and hopefully have a one-two finish at the end of the year.
One unique aspect of Formula E is Fan Boost. You have 160,000 Twitter followers, how are you going to get them to all vote for you? I don’t know! I’ve never thought about this in the past. It’s very new for everyone and we need to try different things and see what works. I’m sure it’s a great tool, I’m not sure how to use it, but I’m sure I’ll get some help.
FIA Formula E