Jean-Eric Vergne will race for DS Virgin Racing in Formula E’s 2015-16 season.
In news released today by team, the newly Anglo-French squad will retain British driver Sam Bird, who won two races in the first season, and add popular former F1 Frenchman Vergne to the garage.
That’s quite a coup, as Vergne raced for Andretti from the third round of the first Formula E season. He’s been in talks with both Andretti and Virgin, both of whom have been keen to sign him for the second season (as we reported here).
JEV replaces Jaime Alguersuari, who has to forgo the coming season for health reasons. While rumours persist that Vergne would leave Formula E at the end of the calendar year if an F1 seat opened up, Virgin can’t ignore the driver’s raw speed and is record of three pole positions and three podiums in the first season.
“I am delighted to be joining the DS Virgin Racing Team at such an exciting time for the team, and also for the series given the new regulations for season two,” said Vergne. “With the DS brand coming on board as a new partner to the team, I am looking forward to being aligned with a French, forward thinking marque. I understand that there are a number of exciting things going on behind the scenes that should ensure that we have a competitive start to the season. Looking back to my first race of last season where I qualified on pole, I am very excited to be getting back into a racing seat at the first race of the season in October. I am confident that my raw pace and appetite for success will help ensure that DS Virgin Racing continues to be one of the leading teams in Formula E.”
“Last season was a learning curve but one I thoroughly enjoyed, so I’m elated to be back with the DS Virgin Racing team for the 2015-16 season,” said Bird. “We had two great wins last season in Malaysia and then at my home race in London, so the aim is to build on that success and have a fantastic second season in Formula E. The advancements to the car around the powertrain are really exciting so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel shortly in Donington to get some good testing in before the first race in Beijing.”
“Both Sam and Jean-Eric are exceptional talents and I believe we now have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid,” said team principal Alex Tai. “I’m looking forward to being able to compete for regular honours from race to race.”