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Sam Bird: FE/WEC clash needless, jeopardizes race contracts

Formula E Grand Prix Of Marrakech

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - NOVEMBER 12: In this handout image supplied by Formula E, Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing, Spark-Citroen, Virgin DSV-02 during the FIA Formula E Championship Marrakesh ePrix at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan on November 12, 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by LAT Photographic/Formula E via Getty Images)

Formula E via Getty Images

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Sam Bird has expressed his disappointment in the scheduled clash between Formula E and the FIA World Endurance Championship in July, saying there is “no need for it”.

Bird is one of a number of drivers who races in both championships, with the two series previously enjoying a gentleman’s agreement to avoid clashes and keep grids boosted.

However, both the WEC 6 Hours of Nürburgring race and the New York City ePrix are planned to take place over the July 16 weekend, leaving drivers with a dilemma.

Bird races for DS Virgin Racing in Formula E, but must prioritize his duties with AF Corse in the WEC over that weekend; a choice that he is disappointed to have been forced to make.

“It’s a shame, and I wish someone would budge. I think there’s no need for it,” Bird told NBC Sports.

“There’s a weekend there where somebody could move and it makes it very difficult for us drivers.

“I understand that running a championship is extremely difficult and co-ordinating it is very tough. I understand this but I thought that we had an agreement that the two would not clash. It’s already broken down.

“It’s a big shame for us and it jeopardizes our contracts.”

Bird thinks that drivers would still be able to balance duties in Formula E and WEC so long as the agreement remained between the series, but admits doing so will be difficult in the future if more clashes occur.

“If there was the understanding still that we had initially then I think it could [be possible to do both series],” Bird said.

“How much longer that could last? I don’t know. It’s looking more difficult.

“I’m not saying that it’s not a definite no-no that you can’t, but it’s looking more difficult than before.”

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