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Bird, Lotterer React to “Very Frustrating” Calendar Clashes

Sam Bird: Clashes between Formula E and WEC will make life “very difficult”…

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Two drivers caught up in the clashing dates between the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship seasons have voiced their opinions to e-racing365.

Sam Bird and Andre Lotterer have both been regular competitors in both global series in recent seasons.

Clashes between the two series, which have always had considerable overlap in drivers, came to light when the Formula E schedule was released by the FIA on Friday.

Three clashes across six months will see the WEC rounds at Bahrain, Sebring and Spa take place on the same weekends as E-Prixs in a TBA location (which could be Marrakesh), China and Seoul.

Bird was affected by the previous clash between the two championships in July 2017 when he had to be replaced at AF Corse by Toni Vilander after committing to the New York E-Prix.

“It makes it very difficult for us as drivers, definitely,” Bird told e-racing365.

“I treat both of my jobs very seriously and I wear both my Envision Virgin and my Ferrari race suit with a great deal of pride and professionalism.

“One or both of my bosses will not be happy with this situation and you can understand that. When it becomes a question of priority it makes it very difficult when you are caught in the middle like this.

“There is no good solution for me because someone is going to be very annoyed. It just puts us in a terrible situation and I wish it could be sorted out. It’s very frustrating.”

Lotterer to Give Formula E Priority Again

DS Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer says that he will again prioritize Formula E should he continue racing in WEC next season.

Presently, the 2013 WEC champion does not have a deal for the 2019-20 WEC campaign which will begin at Silverstone this September.

Lotterer chose to undertake a simulator session in Paris just prior to the Sanya E-Prix in March instead of competing in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring which was held the previous weekend.

“If there are too many clashes, I’d obviously need to focus on Formula E as this is the bigger challenge at the moment,” Lotterer told e-racing365.

“You saw this year that I skipped Sebring just for a sim session.

“People don’t really understand but a sim session in Formula E is a really important test to prepare for the race, it’s just a different nature of how we prepare things in Formula E.”

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.

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

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Chris

    June 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    I think FE should get ready to not be a series for drivers to twin with WEC. The championship I think still needs more events, and now WEC is also an off-season championship of sorts, it makes it harder to avoid clashes even with the number of events we have now.

    I don’t want FE drivers who would prioritise WEC in the championship. And I don’t really want drivers in FE who race petrol cars at all. The general public are going to realise it’s hypocritical and be as bothered by it as I am.

    I still love Le Mans but I am so conflicted by it. I don’t know whether I love it or hate it any more. And with the way things are going and the hybrid tech going backwards, how much longer can I put up with that in the face of a climate crisis affecting everyone on the planet.

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