The roster of eligible drivers for the nascent FIA Formula E Championship keeps growing. This time it's Virgin Racing which has brought in the latest recruits, and they're both proven drivers with real race experience behind them.
Can't hack it in Formula One? That's all right, because the Formula E championship seems eager to accept the rejects. Of the ten teams that will take part in next year's inaugural season of electric racing, series organizers have now announced nine. And like several others, this latest team briefly campaigned in F1.
It's safe to say that Virgin Racing hasn't been a huge success so far. One of three new teams that joined the F1 grid last season, Virgin has largely been performing better than perennial back-markers HRT, but has failed to keep pace with Lotus, which is itself still far from competing with even the bottom end of the established teams like Williams and Toro Rosso. But Virgin has little intention of staying at the back, and to that end is shaking things up.
Say hello again to Pat Symonds. The former Renault F1 technical director was thrown out of the sport in disgrace along with Flavio Briatore in the wake of the Crashgate scandal for having ordered Nelsinho Piquet to crash his car on purpose. But now Symonds is back.
As Red Bull Racing aptly proved this season, you don't need an automaker's backing to rise to the top of the Formula One ladder. Any consumer company with a popular image will do the trick. Virgin has been trying to follow in Red Bull's footsteps with the launch of its own F1 team, but as Richard Branson and company have discovered, it's more than most can chew. So it should come as little surprise that the upstart team has pursued – and secured – an automaker's support for next seas