Just Electric

Virgin Racing close to glory

With one of its drivers finishing third overall in the Drivers’ Championship and the team also coming third in the Teams’ Championship, DS Virgin Racing had a season with ups and downs, but which ultimately saw them close to the glory.

The British squad started the season off on the right foot. Sam Bird won the first round of the Hong Kong ePrix, and went on to obtain another win in Rome later in the season. Things were not as easy for teammate Alex Lynn, as the Brit had some unlucky weekends, especially in the second half of the season.

DS Virgin Racing's 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Statistics:

Wins: 2

Podiums (not including wins): 4

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 1

Championship Points: 160

Constructors’ Championship: 3rd

With victories in Hong Kong and Rome, and having finished on the podium several times, Sam Bird arrived at the New York ePrix with chances of clinching the title. The Brit was Vergne’s closest contender in the championship race, and as per usual, he fought until the end for all his chances.

Lynn scored points in five out of the first six races of the season. He was running his first Formula E season in a full time seat, after he made his part-time debut in New York City last year. For the Brit, the second half of the season was a nightmare, not being able to score any points; ultimately finishing the championship in P16 with 17 points to his name.

 

Sam Bird

Wins: 2

Podiums (not including wins): 4

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Drivers’ Championship: 3rd (143 points)

Sam Bird has been one of Formula E’s most impressive and consistent drivers ever since the series started. He has won races in every season, and has scored valuable points and podiums as well.

His fourth season in the fully-electric championship started in the best way possible, taking the win on the unforgiving streets of Hong Kong. The following day, he finished in P5, which proved once again why he is one of the series’ strongest drivers.

In Marrakesh he was back on the podium, repeating the 2016 feat. As Formula E landed in Santiago, he finished in race fifth overall, taking the Fastest Lap award.

Mexico City would be Bird’s only non-point scoring weekend, finishing in P17 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. But he would come back stronger in Punta del Este, as he put on a brilliant performance in the seaside track, finishing third.

This momentum helped Bird to get to the top step of the podium in Rome one month later. This helped him shorten the gap between him and Vergne in the Drivers’ Championship.

He continued finishing on the podium or within the Top 10 in the following races, with a P3 finish in Paris, a seventh-place finish in Berlin, and seeing the chequered flag from P2 in Zürich.

In New York City, the Brit still had chanced to take the crown, but two unfortunate qualifying sessions stopped him from achieving the ultimate goal. He finished the first round of the New York ePrix in P9 and the following one in P10.

Bird finished third overall in the championship in one of his strongest seasons in the series. Having observed him giving a hundred percent every time he jumps into the car, it is fair to say that Sam is a driver who is always up for a challenge, and will drive with his heart and soul, no matter how adverse the situation in front of him might be.

Alex Lynn

Wins: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 6th (Punta del Este)

Drivers’ Championship: 16th (17 points)

Alex Lynn’s arrival to the team came shortly after Season 3 was wrapped up. His brilliant performance at the 2017 New York ePrix played a decisive role when picking him for a seat, as then-Team Boss Alex Tai had commented.

He could take many positives from the first weekend in Season 4, as he scored points in both rounds, and repeated the feat in Marrakesh.

Santiago would see him retiring from the race, only to come back to the point-scoring positions in the following race in Mexico City, finishing in P10.

In Punta del Este, Lynn would start the race from P2, having gained some positions on the starting grid, after some drivers were penalised shortly after qualifying took place. The race held on Uruguayan soil would see him finish in P6, his best result of the season.

Unfortunately, in the second half of the 12-race calendar, the Brit could not repeat the feat. The race in Rome saw him crashing in qualifying and the race, having to retire after those unfortunate events.

He finished out of the points-scoring positions in Paris, Berlin, and Zürich; and had to retire again in New York, the venue where he had made his Formula E debut the previous year. He could not score points either in the last race of the season, finishing in P14.

It is still unknown whether Lynn will continue to race for Virgin in Season 5. The team is no longer partnered with French car brand DS, and there are rumours that it might become an Audi customer, which may see an Audi factory driver getting a seat in the British squad.

Only time will tell Lynn’s destiny in the fully-electric championship, but one thing is for sure: despite all the adversity he had to face, he has been a good racer in the series.

Andrea Perilli

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