Alexander Simov took the Formula E pole and led the New York final
Formula E season six kicks off in November and BMW driver hopes it will be back online
Alexander Simov is far from your typical racer. “The catalyst for my interest in electric vehicles was torturing miles about 10 years ago and getting fed up with putting gasoline in my car,” he says. “I remember three refills a week, like Groundhog Day, 60 liters at a time. I thought this might not be the end of the decision. Seemed erratic behavior.”
Not many of his breed speak in this way. But Sims, 31, never fits into the stereotype, even as a rising single star. Formula 1 sleep faded early, but over the past five years, he has earned respect as a pro for BMW in the GTS in the UK, mainland Europe and the US. Then last year, as BMW prepared for a round in Formula E, it proved to be an unexpected challenge. “I sincerely believed that a one-man ship sailed,” he says.
The show couldn't be better or more authentic - Ambassador. “I switched early to hybrid,” he says of his early EV conversion. “It was marginally better, but I felt like I had gone from 45mpg to 50…so what? The Tesla Roadster was about everything there was at the time, so I cranked my way to get one, thanks in large part to 'Daddy's Bank! I have been fascinated by it ever since as a solution to the decarbonization of personal transport.”
For those who have followed his career, a place on the team run by Michael Andretti was everything Sims deserved. And it seemed that faith was rewarded when he and teammate António Felix da Costa - the other who should have had F1 starts to make his name - ran one-two seasons back in December. Then they collided.
Calamity has become a bit of a theme for characters in the series that is torn apart by too many contacts, mostly due to the dense nature of its pop-city street circuits. But in the final in New York, he made good on his promise by taking pole and finishing second in the race. Now, to take from Alan Partridge, the question is: will he get you a second season?
“That quickly came a little easier than I probably expected,” he says with characteristic modesty. “On the flip side, the race weekend was doing well and getting results was harder.”
“At the moment there is no sorting out on the spot,” he says to the big question. “I have been working with BMW for five years, it would be great if I could continue. But while I have an offer, I need to look at other possibilities.”
Season six of Formula E kicks off in Saudi Arabia on November 22nd. Fingers crossed in Sims on the grid.
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