Sam Bird has confirmed he will leave Envision Virgin and join rivals Jaguar for Season 7 of the ABB Formula E World Championship, partnering Kiwi title protagonist Mitch Evans.
Bird is one of a handful of drivers to have raced in the all-electric formulae since its inception and was originally set to join Evans at a nascent Jaguar outfit back in 2016.
With nine career wins to his name, Bird is the most successful driver in the series not to win a championship. He will now partner established race winner Evans in a formidable driver line-up Jaguar team director James Barclay is the strongest on the grid.
“On behalf of the entire Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E team and everyone at Jaguar we would like to welcome Sam to the family,” said Barclay.
“Since the start of Formula E Sam has demonstrated that he is one of the very best drivers in the championship and we believe that together we will form a great partnership.
“With Mitch and Sam we believe that we have arguably one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid. With extremely close competition it is clear that to be successful in Formula E you need two drivers who can be competing for podiums at every race.
“We now have two proven race winners that are capable of enabling us to challenge for both team and driver championship titles next season.”
Bird’s departure from Envision Virgin all but confirms fellow Kiwi Nick Cassidy will take the vacant spot to partner Robin Frijins next season, with several sources citing a agreement for Cassidy to join the team has been already been sealed.
The reigning Super Formula champion has been linked to the team earlier in the year when he annihilated the lap record at a rookie test with the squad. Cassidy ended the day half-a-second quicker than anyone else and proved his worth to the Formula E paddock.
Cassidy will become the third Kiwi on the grid next season, the Japan-domiciled driver joining Evans and current Formula E rookie Brendon Hartley.
An official announcement by Envision Virgin is expected to be made in the coming days.