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DS Virgin Confirms Tai Departure

Alex Tai officially leaves DS Virgin Racing after four-year stint as Team Principal…

Photo: Formula E

DS Virgin Racing confirmed on Monday that Alex Tai will step down from his role as Team Principal of the race-winning ABB FIA Formula E Championship team.

As first reported by e-racing365 last month, Tai will cease his role with immediate effect and is set to be initially replaced by the team’s Chief Technical Officer and Deputy Team Principal Sylvain Filippi.

The specific reasons for Tai’s split with the team are still yet unknown but come just six weeks after a majority interest in the team was acquired by Chinese renewables giant Envision Energy.

E-racing365 understands that Envision has worked with former Ferrari F1 chief Marco Mattiaci as a consultant for the last six months and that the Italian could be in a position to work with the Formula E team in the near future.

Mattiaci had a 15-year career at Ferrari before he briefly joined the Faraday Future organisation as Global Chief Brand & Commercial Officer and Head of Motorsport for a brief period in 2016.

Tai has been the Director of Special Projects at the Virgin Group for the last decade. It was a role which included a brief stint as the CEO and Team Principal of the Virgin Racing F1 Team in 2009.

From 2014 he was instrumental in setting up the Virgin Racing Formula E team which initially used operational capabilities and staff from the then-named Lotus F1 Team.

Tai initially trained as a pilot and was a Virgin Atlantic captain between 1995 and 2007 before rising through the ranks to become the CEO of the Virgin Galactic initiative and then the Director of Virgin Management Ltd.

DS Virgin Racing currently sits in third position in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship points table and also has Sam Bird in the second place in the drivers’ standings.

“DS Virgin Racing would like to thank Alex as one of the founders of the team for his work in guiding it through four seasons culminating in the many track successes we have achieved in that time,” a statement from the team read.

“We wish him well with his future endeavours.”

The team will cease its technical collaboration with the DS Performance company this July and is expected to announce a partnership with Audi to use customer powertrains for Season Five, which will get underway in December.

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 from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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    June 5, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I really look forward to seeing your coverage on this Sam.

    There has got to be some crazy behind-the-scenes reason(s) for someone as capable as Tai to be let go after accomplishing so much with the DS Virgin team.

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