A partnership was being explored between Lotus F1 and the Virgin Racing Formula E team, we can confirm.
The suggestion that such a partnership was being considered was initially made by broadcaster and technical analyst Marc Priestley last year. While there were Lotus F1 personnel working for the Virgin team early in the maiden Formula E season, an official relationship remained unconfirmed. The team now known as DS Virgin Racing has since committed to hiring its own full time technical staff.
“I am a lot happier with where we are this year,” Sylvain Filippi, Virgin’s head of tech, tells Current E in an interview published today. “We’ve had a year to build a team. Don’t forget we were one of the few teams to start from scratch. We had an idea of a partnership with Lotus F1 but it didn’t really transpire. We realised early on that if we wanted to be competitive, we needed people at the races who are part of our staff, who can get into the habit of Formula E. We now have a full team of people who are on board full-time. We have improved massively in terms of talent and set up.”
Third party racing teams providing technical support to Formula E teams is not unusual, with DAMS, Campos, Carlin and Super Nova all having played a part in the first season.
Still, despite a first season of ups and downs, the Branson-backed DS Virgin Racing team may have done well by not engaging Lotus to run trackside operations. Renault, a rival of the Virgin team in Formula E, is thought to be close to buying Lotus to create a works F1 team. That could have made for an awkward second season in Formula E for both Renault and Virgin should the deal transpire.
Read the full interview with Filippi here.