FE: Sam Bird leaves Virgin and joins Jaguar

Formula E stalwart Sam Bird has today been announced by Jaguar as a driver for the 2020/21 season, bringing and end to his partnership with Virgin. 

Bird, 33, has raced for Virgin since the very first Formula E season and it is one of the few partnerships to have lasted since the emergence of the championship along with Lucas Di Grassi and Audi and Sebastian Buemi with Renault/Nissan.

Bird will partner New-Zealand driver Mitch Evans who has been with Jaguar since their inception in Formula E in the 2016/17 season.

Evans took Jaguar’s first win in Rome 2019 and has been one of the stand out performers in the current season, winning in Mexico convincingly and currently sitting pretty at second in the championship behind DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix Da Costa.

He is going to replace his Ferrari GT teammate James Calado who has only had five races in his Formula E career with Jaguar.

Bird said in a statement: “I am really looking forward to a new chapter in my Formula E career with Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

“I have watched Jaguar’s growth and progress in the series and am very proud to be driving for an iconic British brand with such a successful racing DNA and joining an incredible list of drivers that have raced for the brand.

“I am incredibly hungry for success and I believe that together with Mitch we can achieve great things for the team and ourselves.

“I want to thank Envision Virgin Racing for everything we have achieved together and wish them well for the future.”

James Calado (GBR), Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-Type 4
James Calado will be replaced for Season 7 by Sam Bird © FIA Formula E

James Barclay, the team principal for Jaguar said: “Since the start of Formula E Sam has demonstrated that he is one of the very best drivers in the championship and we believe that together we will form a great partnership.

“With Mitch and Sam we believe that we have arguably one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid. With extremely close competition it is clear that to be successful in Formula E you need two drivers who can be competing for podiums at every race.

“We now have two proven race winners that are capable of enabling us to challenge for both team and driver championship titles next season.”

The first test in Jaguar machinery will come for Bird after this season ends with the six race festival in Berlin.

Formula E returns in Berlin with three double headers with the first on 5 August.