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Formula E

Exclusive: Bird concerned Formula E losing sight of 'DNA' amid Silverstone rumour

Sam Bird spoke exclusively to RacingNews365 about Formula E venturing to more purpose-built circuits, like the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this weekend.

Bird Tokyo
To news overview © Sam Bloxham / Formula E

Formula E veteran Sam Bird is concerned that Formula E is losing sight of its "DNA", as the sport continues to move towards purpose-built circuits.

Since its birth, Formula E has been centred around street racing and promoting EV technology to the biggest cities on the planet; however, as the cars increase in performance, its "roots" are starting to be left behind.

The Gen3 era of the all-electric series has seen the sport venture to a steadily increasing number of traditional venues, with three featuring on the Season 10 calendar.

This weekend's inaugural Misano E-Prix is taking place at the iconic Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, best known for hosting MotoGP. Formula E is also visiting the home of the Chinese Grand Prix and also the Portland International Raceway shortly.

Formula E racing at permanent circuits has resulted in an increasing number of comparisons to F1, with the recent rumour being that the sport could be heading to Silverstone next year, according to The Race.

For Bird, it's simple, the series must remember where it was born, otherwise face the consequences of viewers making direct, and potentially harmful, comparisons to F1.

"I prefer it to stick to its roots, yeah massively," Bird exclusively told RacingNews365. "Was the Tokyo circuit perfect? No, no it wasn't, and it would need some tweaking.

"Coming here, it's great and I think that being in Italy is amazing. Italian motorsport fans are incredible they really are, and we had a great thing going in Rome and I loved it, I'm sad that we're not there anymore, because I thought that circuit was the best circuit we had in Formula E, one of the best in Formula E history actually.

"We're here in Misano, which is a really good circuit for normal cars, but we're not normal cars. And now the problem is if we go to normal circuits, like Misano and like Silverstone, which is what has been written about, you then get people going we're 25 seconds slower than Formula 1.

"And it just doesn't look good. It doesn't look good for us at all, we then get compared to other series, and we are a standalone series. And it does look good on street circuits. This championship was born and bred on, an its DNA is on street circuits, and we shouldn't lose sight of that."

Fear identity being lost

As mentioned, Formula E is soon heading to the Shanghai International Circuit, where F1 has raced every time the pinnacle of motorsport has been to China. Formula E also uses the full Monaco Grand Prix circuit, but provides considerably better racing than F1.

In terms of comparisons to F1, Bird is not bothered about what is said in China, with Silverstone being the biggest concern.

"We're only doing like a third of the circuit, so that that doesn't matter," noted Bird. "I think Monaco is slightly different because what we give the fans in Monaco is great racing, everybody says okay, they're slower but they're more excited, fine.

"But Silverstone, it's so flat out and it's too wide, like can you imagine the energy at Silverstone?"

Given just how much experience the McLaren driver has in Formula E, he has seen the sport go from the likes of Battersea Park to Tokyo. If anyone knows what is best for the sport, it is the Briton.

"I just don't want Formula E to lose track of the fact that, we are, and were built, on the premises that we took electrification to the heart of city centres," stressed Bird.

"If we go to too many circuits, normal circuits, I worry that it will slightly lose its identity. The speed of our cars is getting better and we do reach some fairly cool top speeds. But we will get compared to F1, and we don't have the downforce and we don't have the tyre grip, so we are heavier so what what do people expect?"

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