Former DS Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai has admitted that Virgin Racing will become a customer team for season five.
Tai spoke to Formula E Zone at the Paris ePrix; a few weeks before the 51-year old left the team shortly prior to the Berlin ePrix. His role has since been filled by DS Virgin’s former Chief Technology Officer, Sylvain Filippi.
There has been strong speculation that DS will leave Virgin Racing to partner Techeetah for season five, after both Jean-Éric Vergne and André Lotterer were officially announced as development drivers for DS Performance ahead of next season. This will leave the British team needing to buy a powertrain from another manufacturer on the grid.
“It was obvious we were going to be a customer team for season five, as we are not on the manufacturer list. So technically we still had to buy a powertrain from somewhere for season five,” explained the Englishman.
Virgin Racing partnered with Envision who will become the primary shareholder for the race team, as the British team seek to pioneer new technologies for electric vehicles, but Tai admitted that they are looking for a manufacturer that shares their vision for the future.
Tai also told Formula E Zone that DS performance had completed a significant amount of testing for season five, and that the Virgin Racing team had been collaborating with them.
“Well, our manufacturer partner has done a lot of testing ahead of season five, which we have had some involvement in…although we still want to be part of the innovation process and Virgin still wish to contribute what we have learnt over the first four seasons and innovate the technology for the future.
“Now we need to work with manufacturers that accept that. We have to remember that Virgin does not make cars, so we are looking at all the other things that surround the sport and the other technologies.
“We partnered with Envision, and they are providing digital solutions and energy operating systems, which help everything around electric vehicles. So we still want to remain part of the technology story of electric vehicles and showcase that at Virgin Racing,” concluded Tai.