Bird and Vergne confirmed at DS Virgin Racing for second Formula E season

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Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne will race for DS Virgin Racing in the second season of the FIA Formula E championship.

Ahead of the first pre-season test on Monday at Donington Park in England, the British team has confirmed that Bird will be retained following a successful debut campaign in the electric series.

“Last season was a learning curve but one I thoroughly enjoyed, so I’m elated to be back with the DS Virgin Racing team for the 2015/16 season,” Bird said.

“We had two great wins last season in Malaysia and then at my home race in London, so the aim is to build on that success and have a fantastic second season in Formula E.

“The advancements to the car around the powertrain are really exciting so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel shortly in Donington to get some good testing in before the first race in Beijing.”

Vergne joins DS Virgin after racing for Andretti in season one, scoring three pole positions and two podium finishes en route to seventh place in the final championship standings.

“I am delighted to be joining the DS Virgin Racing Team at such an exciting time for the team, and also for the series given the new regulations for season two,” the ex-F1 driver said.

“With the DS brand coming on board as a new partner to the team, I am looking forward to being aligned with a French, forward thinking marque. I understand that there are a number of exciting things going on behind the scenes that should ensure that we have a competitive start to the season.

“Looking back to my first race of last season where I qualified on pole, I am very excited to be getting back into a racing seat at the first race of the season in October.

“I am confident that my raw pace and appetite for success will help ensure that DS Virgin Racing continues to be one of the leading teams in Formula E.”

Vergne will replace Jaime Alguersuari at DS Virgin for season two after the Spaniard announced earlier this week that he would take no part in season two due to medical concerns.

The Frenchman’s arrival at the team also frees up a seat at Amlin Andretti. The American team is expected to run Simona de Silvestro in one of its cars for 2015-2016, with the second potentially being shared by other Andretti-affiliated drivers.

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.