Bird set to stay at DS Virgin

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Bird set to stay at DS Virgin
Sam Smith
By: Sam Smith
Co-author: Jamie Klein
Jun 29, 2016, 9:48 AM

Sam Bird has reiterated his commitment to the DS Virgin Formula E squad despite significant overtures from the new Jaguar team.

Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Jose Maria Lopez testing seat of the DS Virgin eTeam
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
Second place Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing

Bird, who is getting ready for his home race at Battersea Park this weekend, has been at the centre of speculation concerning a possible move to Jaguar.

The Indian-owned, British-based manufacturer is believed to prefer to have one British driver for its debut season.

As well as Bird, Jaguar is believed to have also approached Adam Carroll, Anthony Davidson, Alex Lynn and Oliver Rowland.

“I have a year left on my contract,” Bird told Motorsport.com this week. “Right now I have a contract with DS Virgin for season three, I’m speaking with Alex [Tai, team boss] going forwards, I’m happy with where we are and what we’re doing.”

Bird admitted that the attention from Jaguar was not the only contact he had received from other teams.

“It’s very flattering, but it’s not just that outfit [Jaguar],” he said. “Many teams have been calling me and asking what my plans are for the future.

The Briton, who also races as a factory Ferrari driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, told Motorsport.com that his plans for season four in 2017/18 are expected to develop soon.

“I’m speaking with Alex to find out what we can do to achieve a longer relationship. We have a great relationship and I’m sure we’ll be sorting something out soon.”

“There’s always numbers and figures thrown at you that are tempting, but I’ve got a great thing going at DS Virgin. Let’s see what happens in the future."

A DS Virgin spokesperson told Motorsport.com that no driver announcements for season three were planned for the London ePrix weekend.

Lopez an option for DS Virgin

The future of Bird’s current teammate Jean-Eric Vergne is less well-known after an up-and-down season with the DS Virgin team.

French media reports in April that Vergne would not continue in season three were then described as "unsubstantiated" by DS Virgin boss Alex Tai, but Motorsport.com understands that multiple WTCC champion Jose-Maria Lopez is likely to feature in the team's plans in the coming seasons.

The Argentinian has already tested for the DS Virgin team, which continued its season-three preparations last Friday, concluding its ninth day of private testing. The testing will continue in Spain throughout July.

Lopez had also almost made a Formula E debut for DS Virgin when Vergne was taken ill last February.

Vergne, who has been part of DS Virgin’s season-three test days, is understood to have multi-year options on his contract with the French manufacturer.

Should Vergne leave the DS Virgin team, both Jaguar and the new CMC-owned squad could be possible options for the Frenchman if he opts to continue in the all-electric formula.

Vergne’s manager Julian Jakobi also manages Ma Qing Hua, who is likely to race for the new team, which has secured Renault powertrains for season three.

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About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Jose Maria Lopez , Sam Bird , Jean-Eric Vergne
Teams Virgin Racing
Author Sam Smith