Virgin close to revealing new customer Formula E powertrain deal

Virgin Racing is close to revealing the Formula E powertrain manufacturer it will partner with for season five after splitting from DS Automobiles

Virgin close to revealing new customer Formula E powertrain deal

The British team used DS's technology from the start of FE's second season, but the French manufacturer will switch to supplying Techeetah from the start of the 2018/19 championship.

It is understood that Virgin will use Audi's powertrains as a customer outfit from next season, with the deal being announced in the coming weeks.

"Over our three Formula E seasons together, we have very much enjoyed having DS Automobiles as our partner and all the successes we have achieved, both on and off the track," read a Virgin statement released following the Techeetah/DS announcement.

"Season five of Formula E brings with it a new era and, as such, we feel the time is right to part ways to allow us to develop in different directions.

"From next season, Virgin Racing - one of the founding and most successful outfits in the series - will become an independent team.

"From the outset, it was always our intention to collaborate with an OEM as Virgin's core business areas don't involve the production of automobiles.

"Preparations for season five are well underway and we will shortly be announcing these exciting plans for next season and beyond.

"Until then, we wish to thank everyone at DS Automobiles for their hard work and contribution, and we look forward to seeing them - and all the current Formula E teams - on the start grid for the opening race in Riyadh!"

Virgin finished third in the 2017/18 standings behind Audi and Techeetah, which competed as a Renault customer squad for the last two seasons.

That equalled the team's best FE result and concluded the DS era that had added five wins for Sam Bird, in addition to the two he scored during FE's first season of spec competition in 2014/15.

Bird was the only driver who entered the recent season finale with the chance to deny Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne the title.

But, as he predicted before the event in New York, the combination of a long track and race distance meant the heavy and comparatively inefficient Virgin/DS package could not compete with for the higher places in the two races.

As a result, Bird slipped to third in the final 2017/18 drivers' standings behind Audi's Lucas di Grassi.

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Techeetah replaces Virgin as works DS Formula E team for 2018/19
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