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Tai: Virgin Can Go “Wherever it Likes” for Season Five

Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai has quashed rumours that he and his fellow shareholders in the team could sell the operation in the near future…

Photo: Ds Virgin

Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai has quashed rumours that he and his fellow shareholders in the team could sell the operation in the near future.

The possibility of Virgin Racing selling out to a major investor or manufacturer has been one of the hot paddock topics in recent months.

This is largely down to the uncertainty over its future technical collaboration with DS Performance.

The PSA-owned company will become a manufacturer in its own right for Season Five and beyond.

DS is also tipped to be linking up with the Techeetah squad for the crucial 2018/19 season, in what would effectively be a defacto works operation.

“I’ve heard of at least three or four different people who are apparently buying our team,” Tai told e-racing.com.

“I’ve talked to [Virgin Group Founder/Owner] Richard [Branson] and he thinks we have got offers as well, but the fact is that this is always going to happen and it happens when you come off the back of a double win in New York and are a successful proven entity.

“Of course we listen to the serious ones, but at this stage Virgin is staying, I am staying and we are very happy where we are at the moment.”

Having recently relocated to Silverstone, Virgin Racing is believed to be exploring multiple possibilities for Season Five, including both becoming a full customer team and also entering in to collaboration with a major OEM.

Tai states that the team he runs can go “wherever it likes” including staying with DS Performance, with which it has won three races since the start of the current partnership in 2015.

“There are lots of options and the way the series is designed means that none of those are cost prohibitive,” he said.

“The Virgin Racing team can go wherever it likes. There is an awful lot of benefit in staying where we are because we know DS. We know they create a great powertrain.

“There are options but we don’t actually have to make a decision for some time. Right now we are working with DS and we are delighted with it. They have fantastic racing credentials.

“There are no confirmed plans beyond Season Four and I’ll make a decision in 2018 and take the best option for the good of the team to challenge for championships.

Tai did divulge that Virgin has been in contact with other manufacturers and reiterated its commitment to Formula E.

“We are always having investors coming to us and we have manufacturers coming to us,” he said. “We have a long-term commitment and long-term wish from the Virgin Group to be involved [in Formula E].

E-racing365 understands there are other shareholders in the Virgin Racing team that are actively pushing for a link up with a major technical partner, possibly an OEM.

However, at present nothing is decided beyond the end of Season Four.

Tai’s long term contract/shareholding is fixed and paddock speculation that he will move on from the team is unsubstantiated and highly unlikely.

Sam Smith is e-racing365’s Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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