Virgin not that surprised to be leading FE powertrain supplier Audi

Virgin Racing boss Sylvain Filippi says he is "not that surprised" his team is currently ahead of the works Audi squad in the ABB FIA Formula E standings

Virgin not that surprised to be leading FE powertrain supplier Audi

The British team heads its powertrain supplier Audi by 22 points after the first two rounds of the 2018/19 season, despite failing to score in the season opener in Saudi Arabia.

Virgin took second and third last time out in Marrakech with Robin Frijns and Sam Bird, who also picked up three points for pole position.

Audi, which was last season's benchmark FE powertrain builder, is currently seventh in the teams' standings, three spots behind Virgin - and 33 points adrift of current leader DS Techeetah - which Filippi says is down to the different ways the teams operate.

"I did not expect it, but at the end of the day I'm not that surprised either," he told Autosport.

"I'm not saying that to reflect badly on them at all - it's more a question of we have the same car, for sure [Virgin] had far less testing, but we have different teams.

"My team works in a very different way to the way they work simply because we are a small team and they are a big team.

"We have different ideas. My engineers, some of them have different backgrounds and different ideas to theirs.

"So, that means we do this in a different way, which is what makes the whole thing interesting.

"If you did everything in the same way we would come up with the same results. And the second aspect is the drivers."

Virgin and Audi's relationship, which Virgin has said is more of a partnership than the customer status seen previously in FE between Renault and the Techeetah team, is just two races old.

Filippi said his team is open to working with another manufacturer in the future, but stressed any changes are a long way off - possibly not until the start of the Gen3 era, which, as reported by Autosport, would not begin until the start of the 2022/23 campaign.

Virgin's deal to run Audi power was described as "multi-year" when it was officially announced.

"Of course [we're interested in using alternative powertrains]," said Filippi.

"We, as a team, want to be in Formula E for a long time - 10, 20 years or so. So it's very likely that we'll change partners at some point!

"It's not in the short term, in the short term we are with Audi and it's working really well so far.

"We're still in the early days of developing our collaboration, and these things take time to put together. It was the same with DS [from season two to four].

"So, not in the short term but in the future, for sure, we're open to it. Gen2 is four years, so [for] Gen3 we're talking about season nine, so it's a long way away."

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