Ahead of this weekend's ePrix, Motorsport.com talked with Formula E star Sam Bird.
Just a few hours after arriving to Buenos Aires for round four of Formula E’s inaugural season, British driver Sam Bird, Virgin racing pilot, spent some time with Motorsport.com to discuss the main aspects of this new series and how he strongly believes in Formula E as a new era in racing that will stand for a great while.
Q: Why did you choose Formula E to run, contesting the first season?
Sam Bird: "I think it’s an extremely exciting championship to be a part of and nothing like this has ever been done before and I saw that it was gaining a lot of momentum towards the end of 2013 when I was doing GP2 and I thought that it could be the right place to be. I saw some of the potential drivers and it looked very strong and I’m really pleased to have picked this championship because I do believe that has a big future in motorsport, it has great drivers and I’m very happy and privileged to be a part of this championship.
Q: What would you tell to fans of Formula One or Indycar that doesn't know much about Formula E?
Sam Bird: "I’d just convinced them that this is real racing, it’s not fake, this is real racing with real racing cars. Not what they’re used to but real racing cars with some of the best drivers in the world. And if and when they watch the championship they would be surprised of what, I believe, is the great show that Formula E puts on."
Q: Is there a major difference between Formula E cars, compared to those you've driven in the past?
Sam Bird: "You have to adapt in every single car you ever drive, every car is always different. So yes, we had to adapt a little bit and the way that I have to think about, and what I have to think about in the car it’s a bit different but It’s a racing car and what we have to do is to adapt and to change in order to make whatever car we’re going, whatever series we’re going, to go quickly.
Q: Having already won a race, as you did in Malaysia, what does it take to earn a victory in Formula E?
Sam Bird: "I think in Malaysia we were very strong, we had the best speed, and the best strategy and the best energy conservation so all three meant that it was a very good race for us. And I would say you need all three ... You need to be fast but at the same time you need to be conservative on the battery and look after it and be able to be consistent on that and have a good strategy and make sure there’s no problems in the pitstop. If can do all these things then you can get a podium."
Q: Being second in the standings, along with Sebastien Buemi, after three races, do you think you can win the championship?
Sam Bird: "We have to go race by race, it’s too early yet. When we get to round eight, then we can start thinking about this kind of things, but right now I just need to work with muy engineer and focus on this run in Argentina."
Q: What do you know of the track built for the Buenos Aires round this weekend?
Sam Bird: "We’ve done some work on it already a couple of weeks ago; It looks fantastic. So far, I’ve only arrived today (Thurdsay), but everybody in Argentina has been very kind, very nice. I’m looking forward to walking it tomorrow (Friday) and with the great weather we have it’s going to be a good weekend."
Q: You’re being part of Virgin team, it’s a big brand in the world. How is that working for you?
Sam Bird: "It’s great to be part of such a big global brand. They are at the fore front of many pioneer activities, this is one of them and I’m very proud to be part of the Virgin team."
Q: Are you going back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year?
Sam Bird: "I hope so. Le Mans was not the result I wanted but an amazing experience. I think that the speed I showed was very good, to be pole by one second in my category and second on the grid in GT was pretty special and AF Corse was a great team to be a part of and you never know what can happen this year."
Q: What can you tell us about your early days as a football player?
Sam Bird: "I played for the South of England, in under 16 category, that was the kind of level I was doing, so, a good level, but I had to choose between racing and football and my first love was always racing. And I’m not Lionel Messi so I think I’ll leave the football to him (laughs)."