Due to current clashes between the FIA World Endurance Championship and Formula-E, AF Corse has announced that Miguel Molina will replace Sam Bird as a full-season driver next to Davide Rigon.
Bird has raced with the #71 crew as a full-season driver in WEC since 2016, partnered with Rigon. The duo has had four class victories in WEC, with a best-placed finish of second in the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers. Since 2017, Molina has been Ferrari‘s draft-in driver to join the duo for eight-hour+ races, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Bird’s position in the team was brought up for discussion a few months ago when Formula-E released their 2019/20 calendar. With Bird having recently resigned with Virgin Envision Racing and declared his focus to be on the electric racing series, Ferrari was faced with the prospect that they may have to replace him.
Ahead of the Prologue, a Ferrari spokesperson stated that more than one clash was too many for the team to deal with, and if they remained they would replace Bird in the #71. Even though WEC moved the 2020 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to avoid clashing with the Seoul E-Prix next year, Formula E has failed to make any changes to their calendar at the time of publishing, meaning the calendar still holds two clashes between the series.
“The situation with the calendar is still not clear and there is still the possibility of clashes.” A Ferrari spokesperson told Motorsport.com on the day of the driver announcement. “Today [13th August] is the day that we had to nominate drivers with the FIA, so we had to make a decision.”
Bird will still remain as a works driver, and Ferrari will announce his full programme of racing in due course. It is likely that, so long as they do not clash with Formula-E races, Bird will be the draft-in driver for the #71, with almost certainty that he will race at Le Mans with the team in 2020.
The driver line-up of the sister #51 car remains the same this season, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier-Guidi behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.