Sam Bird claims that Formula E must have a Lewis Hamilton vs Max Vertappen rivalry if it wants to be truly electrifying fans this season.
Tomorrow (FRI), the eighth season of the all electric series will begin in Saudi Arabia. Bird is once again leading the charge for the British title.
A radical overhaul of Formula E qualifying could give the series the boost it needs.
The advantage in qualifying was previously given to those drivers who were lower down in championship standings. This allowed them to do their lap on better track conditions. It created one of the most unpredictable series around the globe.
Now, drivers will be competing in a knockout contest with one-vs-one match-ups to determine grid positions.
This should in theory mean that the strongest drivers are always at the front. It also creates tension.
Jaguar driver Bird said: “I think for the series to grow, it wouldn’t necessarily hurt if there were some rivalries. It is intriguing for fans and it creates drama.
“While you don’t want to be in conflict with other drivers, it is important for the series to grow that there are things happening on the track that cause a stir and allow the media to get a hold of them.
“We haven’t had that sort of tension for a couple of years now.
“Jean Todt, Formula E executive, and some drivers felt it was time to change the quali format. It was because it was now time for this pecking system.
“The manufacturers need to feel rewarded for doing a good job, rather than punished.”
Bird is still the only driver to win a race every season of Formula E. However, he found the last two seasons disappointing after being eliminated from title contention.
He is still third in the championships, and he believes that enjoying himself is the best way to improve.
“I put so much pressure on myself that sometimes it’s unenjoyable or sometimes it affects me,”He said.
“I just want to enjoy my racing. I am in a blessed position and have been given a great car by Jaguar Racing, so I just want to go out and enjoy it.
“This car is a challenge to drive, but I’m going to try and enjoy it.”
- The 2022 season of the Formula E world championship will be broadcast by Channel 4.