Sylvain Filippi: 'Consistency is key' for Envision Virgin Racing in Formula E title fight
Sylvain Filippi has stressed the importance of consistency in Envision Virgin Racing's Formula E 2018/19 championship challenge as the series returns to mainland China for the inaugural Sanya E-Prix this weekend.
After five races of Formula E's present campaign, the Envision Virgin squad lead both the Drivers' and Teams' Championships, with Sam Bird holding a one point advantage over Jerome d'Ambrosio in the prior while the collective outfit has established an 11 point lead over of Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler in the latter.
At the Hong Kong E-Prix two weeks ago, Envision Virgin experienced its first knock-back in what has so far been a season of fortune, with Bird missing out on what could have been his second victory of the season, with the Briton being handed a five-second time penalty post-race after colliding with Andre Lotterer, ruining the DS Techeetah driver's chances of securing a maiden win in the all-electric series.
As a result of the penalty, Bird dropped from first at the chequered flag to sixth in the final classified results, missing out on a haul of 25 points while Venturi's Edoardo Mortara inherited both his and the team's maiden victory
“There’s still a long way to go in this championship and a lot of points still up for grabs,” said Filippi.
“As an independent team, we’ve achieved a huge amount already from working hard and constantly analysing where we can improve.
"Championships are not won in a weekend, so consistency will be key and making sure both our drivers are regularly scoring points.
"Confidence is at its highest in the team as we head into the Sanya E-Prix and we’re hoping we can come away with another strong result.”
Moving on from his incident with Lotterer, Bird insisted that the team has regrouped ahead of the race in Sanya while he likened the track to the Punta del Este Street Circuit due to its coastal location:
“After the drama of the last race, we’ve had time to reflect and regroup as a team and are now fully focused on the Sanya E-Prix," he said.
"The track looks good and reminds me a little of the Punta del Este circuit with its beach location, so will be interesting to see how dusty the surface becomes over the weekend. It’s always great to be racing in new locations and we’re excited to get out there.”
Robin Frijns, who inherited third place in Hong Kong to secure his second podium of the season, added: “We’ve been working hard in the simulator to prepare for this but it’s always hard to know what to expect until you get out there.
"For sure the wind and sand might make track conditions interesting but we’re looking forward to the challenge and once again trying to score heavily.”