Tomorrow, the DS Virgin team will announce their two drivers for the new season of the FIA Formula E Championship, which gets underway this December in Hong Kong. However, it is expected that the team will not retain the services of Sam Bird or Jose Maria Lopez for the fourth season of the championship.
Sam Bird has been part of the Virgin team since the inaugural season of the championship, which commenced in Beijing in 2014, picking up four Julius Bär poles and 5 wins, whereas Jose Maria Lopez joined the series and the team at the start of the season picking up 2 podiums in Paris and Montreal.
Sam Bird looks set to move to Jaguar for the forthcoming season, replacing Adam Carroll, and following his former racing engineer Patrick Coorey, who moved there from DS Virgin at the start of Season 3. As for Jose Maria Lopez, it seems less certain where he maybe heading, there is the possibility of Techeetah, with the rumour of DS heading to that team from Season 5. If he does move there he would partner another former DS Virgin driver, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Jose Maria Lopez vented his frustration about DS Virgin Team Principal, Alex Tai during an interview for Campeones. “We’re in negotiations. It’s definitive I won’t stay at Virgin. I haven’t been treated well by Alex Tai. He was not honest at all with me, I’ve always treated people with honesty in my career. So if it’s not this way, I prefer to stay out,” said the Argentine to Daniel Bosco in a radio interview that is also available on the Campeones website.
As for the Season 4 DS Virgin drivers there is one man who we can put money on being in the team, the young Brit, Alex Lynn, who deputised for Jose Maria Lopez during the clash with the Nurburgring WEC race in July. We’ve already seen how good a driver he is, as he took pole position on his debut in New York, and must be cosindered as a real challenger for the forthcoming season.
As for the second driver, as we write, we do not know the identity of the driver, however I’d throw Nelson Piquet Jr’s name as he was also vying for the Jaguar seat, so he may replace Bird at the DS team. However, we will know the identity of the drivers tomorrow as 14:00 UK Time when the drivers will be announced via the DS Virgin Twitter. Whatever happens though, this looks set to be the biggest shake up of the grid in Formula E’s short history.