Sam Bird revealed that he had never imagined that he would be fighting for a championship in season four after DS made minimal upgrades to their Season 4 powertrain from the previous campaign.
The DS Virgin Racing team struggled in New York, which left Bird unable to mount a title challenge to Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Bird could only manage P9 and P10 in the two races, meaning that the Brit failed to secure second in the drivers’ championship, losing out to Audi driver Lucas di Grassi by a single point.
“This weekend has not gone the way we wanted but it’s still been an amazing season,” said Bird. “If someone had told me at the start of the year that I’d be coming into the final weekend as a title contender I never would have believed them, but we were and that’s down to the hard work of everyone in the team. They’ve got the most out of the car and taken every opportunity that’s come our way and that’s a great achievement.”
Bird explained that his 2017/2018 challenger was essentially last season’s car, which made the 31-year old believe he had no chance of securing the title.
“It’s effectively the same car from last year,” stated Bird. “Other people have made big improvements from last year, and we have kind of stood still, but our car is still good enough to fight and we are maximising the potential of our car all the time.
“Mexico was a bit of a blip with that but its hard to be perfect all the time. I had a damper failure in qualifying there and in the race, we tried something extreme but it didn’t work, but in every other race we have been fighting for podiums,” concluded Bird.
The Virgin team are unlikely to see the benefits of DS deciding to focus on their Season 5 powertrain, as the French manufacturer is set to leave in a move that sees them defect to Techeetah, forcing Virgin to find a new customer powertrain supply for next season, which begins in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 16th.