António Félix da Costa in the #28 MS&AD Andretti ATEC-03 Formula E car finished in the points in the all-electric car series’ February 3 race on the streets of Santiago, Chile. His teammate Tom Blomqvist finished just out of the points in eleventh.
The Andretti cars started near the back of the pack; Félix da Costa was the first qualifier out in the first session, before grip had improved on the circuit. He qualified sixteenth on the grid. Blomqvist started eighteenth after grazing the wall in qualifying.
Both drivers moved up in the first half of the race. Félix da Costa was able to pit a lap later than most racers for his car change; the stop was quick, and the later stop left him with more energy for the balance of the race. He made into the points, finishing ninth. Blomqvist finished eleventh, just out of the points. Jean Eric Vergne, racing for the Chinese Techeetah team, won the race ahead of his teammate Andre Lotterer.
Félix da Costa said afterward, “Unfortunately, I had a poor start position in qualifying, as I was the first driver out and the track was still slippery. There was not a lot more I could have done. Our speed was much better in the race and I was able to stay out for a lap longer than most of the others in my first stint. However, I could then have pushed even harder with the energy in the second car. We are learning every day about energy management, and today was no different. All in all, this result gives me optimism for the races ahead.”
BMW introduced its new i8 Coupé Qualcomm Safety Car in Santiago. It saw action on the first lap, when it went out to lead the cars around after a multi-car incident. In addition to supplying safety and course cars to the series, BMW partners with the Andretti team; it will supply the powertrain for the team’s cars beginning in season five in the fall of 2018.
Formula E runs again in Mexico City on March 3.