Formula E

Bird criticises team mate Vergne after Paris clash

2 Mins read

Sam Bird has heavily criticised his DS Virgin Racing team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne after they clashed in the Paris ePrix.

Bird lost out to Vergne having made a bad start, and spent the majority of the race trying to find a way past him.

They included a couple of late lunges, with one just before the pit stops leading to the two drivers making contact.

Speaking after the race, Bird told, “There are a few occasions when I think [Vergne] forgets he has a team-mate. I felt like I was much quicker than him. He was a mobile chicane.”

The incident has raised questions over whether team orders should have been implemented to allow Bird past, especially as he is sitting far higher in the drivers’ championship.

Bird said that although he didn’t request to be let past, it was an issue that needed to be considered. He commented, “Yes, [the points were] in my mind the whole time. I didn’t request anything [on the radio] and it is his home race, which has to be considered, but there is defending and then there is defending like that.”

DS Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai admitted that the team considered swapping them, but decided against it, “There was a point in the race before the pitstop and where Sam had more energy that it might have been better for the team to release Sam”, he said.

“But it is very difficult to ask a competitive driver like Jean-Eric in his home race to do something. The final answer was to ask both guys to hold position. The opportunity had passed.”

For his part, Vergne thought Bird’s driving could have put both cars out of the race, telling Autosport, “It was enjoyable if he wasn’t my team-mate,” he said. “This is our home race for DS, we were second and third and he was not massively quicker.

“We’re racing for a big team. We don’t want to see two cars finishing in the wall.”

Sebastien Buemi was also critical of Bird, having tried to get past him in the latter part of the race, he said, “You know I think he’s a great driver, but he takes so much risks in the last few races that when everything goes well you look amazing, but sooner or later you make a mistake, as it is crazy what he is doing.”

Bird’s battle with Buemi and Vergne came to an end when he ran straight on at turn one whilst under pressure from Buemi. “I locked the rears, the axle locked solid and I went straight on, so I turned it around as quickly as possible but lost three places” Bird said, “11 points is OK, but it is always nice to home with some silverware.”

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Formula E writer for TCF since 2015-16 and fascinated by all things electric.
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