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Frijns “Was Always Looking” for Formula E Return

Robin Frijns says he was always looking for the right opportunity to return to Formula E…

Photo: Envision Virgin Racing

Robin Frijns says returning to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Envision Virgin Racing fulfils his goal of coming back to the series with a competitive team.

The Dutchman was confirmed as part of the new-look squad’s lineup alongside Sam Bird in a launch event at its Silverstone base on Friday.

As an Audi factory driver, he was forced to miss the 2017-18 season when BMW began to ramp up its involvement in his former MS Amlin Andretti squad.

“I think I had a pretty good season in Season Three, with the strong teammate I had with [Antonio Felix] da Costa,” Frijns told e-racing365.

“I was always looking for a way to come back with a team that showed it was very competitive for the last four years.”

He says the deal with Virgin didn’t come about through Audi, as the new powertrain supplier to the Anglo-Chinese outfit, but directly from the team.

“It was actually Envision and Virgin Racing that made the decision,” Frijns explained. “Audi was not really in charge of it, it was really the team that chooses the drivers.

“I’m just happy that Audi is also involved in it, of course.”

Envision Virgin managing director Sylvain Filippi echoed Frijns’ comments, saying that the current DTM and GT driver has been on the team’s radar for a while.

“My team is keeping a shortlist of drivers that we always keep in touch with, and Robin has been on this list for quite a long time, to be honest,” Filippi told e-racing365.

“It is duly deserved. He’s one of the most amazing drivers out there.

“The fact that he is an Audi-affiliated driver has absolutely nothing to do with it, it is a complete coincidence. It is no harm, right? It doesn’t hurt anyone!”

Virgin Not Expected to Yield Track Position to Audi

Filippi says there will be no hierarchy between the two Audi teams on track this season, despite Envision Virgin running customer e-tron FE05s in addition to the factory-entered Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler entries.

“To be fair, we would never have entertained a partnership like this if it was the case,” he explained.

“The beauty of Formula E and the regulations means we are able to partner with the manufacturer and they have to supply the exact same kit with no strings attached.”

Audi and Virgin’s common objective is to have all four cars at the front of the field, with the teams set to “work together” in order to achieve this, according to the Frenchman.

“I think they are clever enough to realize that it’s a good idea to work together,” he said. “There are some things that we can learn each way. We learn from them and they learn from us.

“We will manage our team the way we see fit but at the end of the day, we are working with them because it will benefit both teams.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is e-racing365's Managing Editor and also European Editor for Sportscar365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Contact Jake

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