01 Mar 19

Sam Bird: the next Formula E champion?

On the dawn of the 50th race in the history of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, British Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird is one of just two Formula E drivers to have won a race in every season to date.

Despite going into the final of every season with a slim mathematical chance of winning that all-important championship title, so far, the top prize has proved elusive for the 32-year-old. With 45 points to his name, Bird currently sits third in the championship standings, just eight points adrift of the top spot. With a proven record of winning in Hong Kong and an effective car beneath him, could this be the season we finally see the racer from Roehampton clinch the championship title? Time will tell. First, here's all you need to know about the British championship contender.

50th formula e race

See Bird in action in the 50th Formula E race - the 2019 HKT Hong Kong E-Prix 

The early days

Bird first cut his teeth in motorsport in 2002 aged 15, when he started out competing in karting competitions. After a successful two-year stint racing competitively around the UK and across Europe, the British driver earned a scholarship to race in the inaugural season of Formula BMW with Carlin Motorsport. By the end of the year, Bird had racked up three wins, finishing the season as one of the top rookie drivers. Sticking with Formula BMW for another season, Bird rounded off his second campaign in the series with Fortec Motorsport as the championship runner-up, missing out on the top spot by just three points. 

Leaving Formula BMW the following year, Bird went on to challenge in Formula Renault before progressing to Formula 3 in 2007, first for Carin and then for Manor and Mucke Motorsport for a third season, eventually finishing third in the challenging Macau Grand Prix street race in 2009. Alongside racing in GP2 between 2009 and 2011, Bird joined forces with Mercedes F1 for the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi in 2010. The Brit was named as their Reserve Driver for the 2011 season, helping the team with testing throughout the 2012 season.   

training to be champion

Into Formula E 

Joining the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for its inaugural year in 2014, Bird got his break in the radical new all-electric championship with the Virgin Racing squad. Finishing fifth in the first season, Bird climbed up to a fourth-place finish for the second and third seasons before securing his best result of third in the 2017/18 season. Despite heading into the final in New York City with a chance of defeating the bookies favourite Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah), Bird championship hopes failed to materialise. Instead, he finished behind Vergne and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Lucas di Grassi. 

Heading into his fifth season in Formula E, Bird remained with the Envision Virgin outfit, accompanied by familiar Formula E face Robin Frijns. Despite a 'pointless' start to the season in Saudi Arabia, the Britsh driver's chances improved immeasurably in the second race in Marrakesh when he scooped a third-place finish, followed by his first win of the season in a scorching showdown in Santiago. After dropping back down to ninth in Mexico City, Bird will be looking to make an impact in Hong Kong. With a win in 'Spice Harbour' in the opening round last season, the British driver will be hoping for another taste of champagne this time round to boost his standing and, ultimately, his chance of clinching that all-important championship title. 

Then again, in his own words, "anything can happen in Formula E." Watch this space.

50th formula e race

See Bird in action in the 50th Formula E race - the 2019 HKT Hong Kong E-Prix