António Félix da Costa in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport #28 BMW iFE.18 finished ninth in the ABB Formula E race in Rome on April 13. His teammate Alexander Sims finished seventeenth.
Once again Formula E’s qualifying rules put Félix da Costa at a disadvantage: Because he went into the Rome race leading drivers’ points, he had to qualify in the first session, when the track was very wet. While he was quickest in that group, he was still thirteenth in the 22-car pack. He actually started eleventh, because two competitors received penalties.
Sims’ car lost power on his flying lap in qualifying; he had to start at the back of the pack.
The race was just two laps old when an incident blocked the track and a red flag came out. It took 45 minutes to clear the track, make repairs, and get the cars back in the right order. Félix da Costa was able to move up to ninth after the race restarted, but he could not get any further.
Sims had to serve a stop-and-go penalty for his team’s replacing the e-motor and inverter after qualifying, and finished seventeenth. Mitch Evans won the race; it was Jaguar’s first Formula E victory. Evans became the seventh different winner in seven races this season. Mahindra’s Jerome D’Ambrosio, who came into Rome second in drivers’ points, finished eighth, moving into a one-point lead over Félix da Costa going into the Paris race.
Roger Griffiths, BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team Principal said, “The race was a good lesson in damage limitation for us. Given our starting positions, it was all about keeping António among the front-runners in the Drivers’ Championship. We have managed that. He is second, just one point behind the leader, and had a few battles in the midfield in today’s race. The focus through all this was always on bringing the car home and scoring valuable points. Alexander could not do much from last place on the grid, especially when he then received the penalty. Despite that, he used the race to learn as much as possible, looking ahead to the rest of the season.”
The Paris race will run on April 27.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy of BMW Motorsport]