Diriyah E-Prix winner Sam Bird says that a re-focusing over the off-season has paid dividends after a disappointing 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship campaign.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver set out to avenge the memory of last season which saw him go from points leader in the first phase of the campaign to an eventual also-ran for title honors.
Bird claimed his ninth career Formula E win on Friday and felt that both mental and physical pushes to change his fortunes have aided his approach to the new season.
“I felt like I could change my approach, and I wanted to push myself, re-focus and set myself targets,” Bird told e-racing365.
“I entered myself into a half marathon and I’ve enjoyed the process, I’ve enjoyed the application.
“My wife’s made me go kind of vegan too. I definitely feel a change in myself, more energy, lighter on my feet, spring in my step.
“I was disappointed with myself last year, really disappointed. I felt like I left something on the table last year and I don’t want to have that feeling again.”
Bird added that he wanted to re-capture the form which saw him challenge Jean-Eric Vergne for the 2017-18 Formula E drivers’ title.
On that occasion, he took the championship to the wire in New York City but lost out to his former teammate.
“You want to leave the championship like I did in season four, thinking, you know what, there’s not another point there,” said the 32-year-old.
“I did that in season four [but] I most definitely didn’t do that in season five [2018-19]. I want to get close to that again. I’ve been working hard with the team in the simulator; that’s worked.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this.”
Bird’s victory on Friday means he holds the drivers’ championship lead after one race while a second Diriyah E-Prix contest is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.