Jaguar Racing


Formula E icon begins ninth season: 'That's what makes it so beautiful'

Formula E icon begins ninth season: 'That's what makes it so beautiful'

13 January - 13:00

When you say Formula E, you have to say Sam Bird. The Jaguar driver has been around since the start of the electric series and is on the eve of his ninth season. GPblog spoke to the Brit about his expectations for next year.

The figurehead of Formula E

Bird is inextricably linked with Formula E. When the electric racing class made its first appearance in the 2014-15 season, Bird was already there as a Virgin Racing driver. Since 2020-2021, Bird has been driving for Jaguar, where he managed to continue his competitive run.

"Formula E has been a massive part of my life for close to a decade now. I love the competitiveness, the technology. The people are amazing up and down the pitlane, family atmosphere but also it’s a relevant technology for the planet and it is a technology that is being implemented into manufacturers’ production lines and it’s nice to be part of that journey," Bird said in a conversation with GPblog.

At the end of last season, Bird suffered a setback. During the first lap of the London ePrix, he injured his hand. Bird completed his home race, but had to miss out on the final races of the season. Now everything is fully recovered.

"The hand has fully recovered now thank you. I snapped a bone on lap one in London and had to finish the race with a broken hand which was tricky. Managed to do that. The hand is now perfect. No issue. I had an operation three days after the accident and I’m absolutely raring to go for this season."

Getting used to the new Gen3 cars

The 36-year-old driver will have to adapt to a new car in 2023. Formula E introduced the new Gen3 cars for this season and Bird was able to test with them briefly at Valencia. ''It was a productive 5 days, I felt like we learnt a lot about our car. This car is lighter, and faster in a straight line."

However, Bird suggested the biggest difference does not come from the car, but from the new tyre supplier. "We have a different tyre supplier with Hankook. The balance is slightly different and we have to work the car in a different way. There is a lot of learning to do. We continue to learn every time we get out on track. I am enjoying the process of learning new things with the team. I can’t wait to get going this weekend."

The five days of testing in Valencia eventually produced a timesheet with the fastest times of the week. Bird finished in sixth place, although according to the Jaguar driver, there is no need to get too excited about that.

Bird wants to get back to the podium

''It doesn’t mean anything at the moment. All I know is that we were competitive enough to know we don’t have major major issues. The pecking order, really nobody knows where anybody is going to be. It could turn on its head, we could be super quick. We could have difficulties. Nobody knows where they stand right now. That’s for everyone up and down the pitlane."

Partly because Bird missed the last two races of 2022, he was not on the podium for the first time in his Formula E career last year. However, the driver's fire is far from extinguished. Asked when we will see him on the podium again, his answer is clear: ''Let's wait until Saturday to find out," alluding to a possible podium in the Mexico City ePrix.

The ePrix weekend starts in Mexico City on Friday with the first free practice session. You can read another comprehensive preview of the upcoming season. Saturday is qualifying and race day.