António Félix da Costa in the BMW i Andretti team’s #28 BMW iFE.18 finished tenth in the ABB Formula E race in Hong Kong. His teammate Alexander Sims crashed out and was not classified in the results. The race, the fiftieth in Formula E competition, was the fifth in the series’ season five.
Félix da Costa’s high standing in drivers’ points going into the Hong Kong race was a handicap in qualifying, as points leaders have to go out in the first session. The Hong Kong street circuit was very wet for session one; the best that Félix da Costa could do was twentieth on the grid. Sims, who qualified later, but also in in wet conditions, started thirteenth.
While it was not raining at race time, the circuit was slick; there were numerous incidents that brought out the safety car, and there was a red flag period to remove two cars that had crashed. The highlight of the race was a nose-to-tail battle for the lead between Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird and Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer. The two racers, with Lotterer leading, pulled away from the pack. Late in the race Félix da Costa was running eleventh. But on the penultimate lap Bird rear-ended Lotterer, who fell back, enabling the BMW racer to move into the points-paying tenth position. Bird won on the track, but was penalized after the race; the win went to Edoardo Mortara of Venturi Racing.
BMW i Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths said, “That is not the result we were looking for in Hong Kong. We arrived here with high expectations. The circuit should actually have suited us and António has been extremely competitive here in the past. The conditions were very difficult and qualifying, when the track was wet at first, meant we were playing catch-up from therein. Qualifying is the key to success in Formula E. This weekend showed once again that it is difficult to get to the front if you start from the middle or back of the field. Alex got off to a great start and climbed five places. Unfortunately, he then made a mistake which saw him drop to the back of the field. He tried to work his way back into the race, but had to retire with a broken suspension after hitting the wall. António worked his way through the field, but then got stuck outside the top ten. We ultimately benefitted from retirements and managed to pick up a point. Every point helps, but that is definitely not what we wanted to achieve here.”
The series runs again in Sanya, China, in two weeks.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]