Alguersuari, Bird join Formula E grid with Virgin
|By Matt Beer||Tuesday, May 13th 2014, 08:34 GMT|
Virgin has recruited ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari and 2013 GP2 runner-up Sam Bird as its drivers for the inaugural Formula E season.
The deal marks 24-year-old Spaniard Alguersuari's return to racing nearly three years after he lost his grand prix seat.
His only outings since then have been F1 tyre testing for Pirelli and in karting.
"Not racing a single-seater [since F1] is not going to affect me at all," he told AUTOSPORT.
"The most important thing is time with the Formula E car. Once we're in Beijing, I don't think I'll be a way off. I don't feel like I'm an old man and I think I've learned a lot in my career."
Alguersuari said he had resisted other opportunities to race again after F1 because he did not think they offered suitably professional environments - something he is certain Virgin and FE will provide.
"I turned down other things in GTs and other series because of external factors. I was the first one who wanted to go racing, but big opportunities like this are very few in professional racing," he said.
"I decided to go with Virgin because I think they have the potential to develop a good car, to provide me with good material to win the championship. They are a big company, they always innovate."
Bird, a former Mercedes F1 reserve, will dovetail the FE drive with his sportscar commitments with Starworks in United SportsCar and AF Corse in the World Endurance Championship.
"It's turned from being quite a difficult beginning into a very, very promising year," he said.
"Every child's dream is to race in Formula 1, but I'm looking at other things currently and I have no regrets - I'm very happy with what I'm doing. It's not totally conventional and it's really exciting."
The Briton said he was thrilled to have a chance to be part of Formula E at its inception.
"It's a very attractive series, and it's the future," said Bird. "With the current state of affairs globally, I think motorsport has to be seen to be going green and this is taking it to new levels. It's a great thing to be a part of."