Thursday, 31 July 2014

Meet Virgin's Formula E racers Part 2 - Jaime Alguersuari

The Virgin name returns to international motorsport this year in the brand new FIA Formula E series as one of ten teams taking part in the all electric single seater championship.

The well known brand signalled just how serious their intentions were when they announced the signing of highly regarded drivers Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari earlier this year.

In the second of a two part feature, the focus turns to the youngest driver to ever start a Formula One Grand Prix, Jaime Alguersuari.

Now 24, Alguersuari will line up alongside Sam Bird behind the wheel of Virgin's Formula E racers for the inaugural season of what has been billed as the future of motorsport.

Since leaving F1 at the end of the 2011, the former Toro Rosso star has split his time between Pirelli tyre testing, karting, radio commentary as well as indulging in his other passion: Music.

But now Alguersuari is ready to get back to full time racing, which he will be doing in both Formula E, as well as the ADAC GT Masters series in Germany.

Following on from my recent interview with Sam Bird, I caught up with with Jaime Alguersuari to hear his thoughts on his new challenge:


Interview with Jaime Alguersuari

Dominik Wilde: Great to see you back racing after a few years, what made you pick Formula E over anything else?

Jaime Alguersuari: I needed a very challenging project. I think being a Virgin Racing driver involved in Formula E was the best way for me to come back to fight because I'm in love with the brand! I love the people who work in this company and I'm enjoying a lot their mentality, but at the end of the day I made sure I signed for the most competitive team out there.

Dominik Wilde: F1 and Formula E are very different. What do you prefer about Formula E so far, compared to Formula 1?

Jaime Alguersuari: It is always difficult to compare this one thing to another honestly. I think from a drivers point of view it is very wrong to approach this new category as an extension of Formula 1 or any other series. We need to be very concerned that we're working with green technology and we're driving and racing a zero emission racing car. The approach has indeed to be very different to whatever we have experienced in the past. We're racing on street circuits and we're running road car standard tyres, so just to answer the question it is not possibe to compare this racing series to any other currently.

Dominik Wilde: Were you more nervous for your first F1 season, or first FE season?

Jaime Alguersuari: Well, I dont think the correct word to say is nervous. I'd say I was impatient because obviously this is what you love doing in life and I couldn't wait to get going! I cant wait till we go to china for the first race!

Dominik Wilde: What do you think of the standard of the other drivers competing in Formula E?

Jaime Alguersuari: I think is great! Good drivers who are ex-F1 like myself, other drivers coming from abroad but also very talented, and other very experienced drivers so in general terms I think is great!

Dominik Wilde: Your team mate is Sam Bird. Are you looking forward to racing with him?

Jaime Alguersuari: Absolutely! He's a quick driver with some experience in junior categories and I'm convinced he will be able to perform very well and give me a diffcult time.

Dominik Wilde: Of course, Formula E is a new series, but how do you think Virgin Racing, and yourself, will fare this year?

Jaime Alguersuari: It is very difficult to predict at the moment, very very difficult! Especially because we're actually testing on a track which is very different to what we're gonna see all over the world, so I could give you names and teams which might be nowhere at the very first event. We based mostly all our work on concentrating with the energy autonomy and race distance, nevertheless we still have plenty of work to do before the first race in China, so hopefully it goes as expected and we're the favourites for the first race.

Dominik Wilde: Electric cars are predicted to be an option for all of us in the future, not just in racing. Do you think this is realistic? How has your Virgin Racing experience so far influenced this opinion, if at all?

Jaime Alguersuari: We can already buy electric cars for the daily life. I think motorsport is a great marketing tool to promote your brand and the future! I think if we (the Formula E teams such as Virgin Racing who are involved in the championship) manage to perform a great show at the races and we're able to make it 'cool' I'm convinced that we will have a huge influence on electric car sales all over the world. Probably it is still too early to talk at the moment, we need to be realistic and understand that we're a baby just born and need some time to develop and evolve.

Dominik Wilde: As well as FE, can we expect to see you racing in any other categories this year or next?

Jaime Alguersuari: Yes, I'm actually racing GTs in Germany for Mercedes, I'm racing with an SLS and you need to share your drive, its like endurance racing and that's something very new for me as I've never driven closed cars before, I'm enjoying very much the ADAC GT masters and hopefully we can manage some good results there as well.

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