Following a disappointing third Formula E season, Antonio Felix da Costa is looking forward to his second campaign with the Andretti Formula E team, this time around with increased influence from BMW.
The Season One race-winner only managed to finish in the points once in Season Three, at the opening Hong Kong ePrix, as Andretti struggled throughout the campaign.
“We had a good start in Hong Kong and then we fell back a bit. We were late with going testing and everyone else did some steps forward and that reflected in the results,” he told e-racing365 during this week’s pre-season test in Valencia.
“As a team, we’ve learned a lot, so it was a valuable experience, something that we can carry on into the future.”
That future will see BMW formally take over as the manufacturer of the team’s Season Five powertrain. The Bavarian manufacturer has gradually integrated in to the team over the last 12 months.
“[BMW] are slowly starting to commit a bit more,” da Costa said. “We have a lot of personnel here from BMW and some clever people and engineers that are helping us out, so hopefully we can start moving in the right direction.
“I’m very lucky to have a lot of engineers that I know from DTM.
“BMW is shifting their personnel to make all their programs work, between the new FIA World Endurance Championship car, DTM, GT3 and now the Formula E program.”
Lack of Test Pace not a Concern
The BMW-contracted driver also downplayed the team’s modest pace during the Valencia test.
“The initial running didn’t go particularly great but you cannot make any assumptions,” said da Costa.
“This circuit has nothing to do with the tracks that we race on. Only the two chicanes are a little bit representative but even that is not so much.
“All the corners here are super-fast and long, and they put a lot of energy into the tires.
“We ended up overheating the tires after one lap and that is not at all what we see at a normal [Formula E] race track, so we had to be clever with the way we go testing.”
Da Costa admitted that regular finishes in points-paying position are the aim in the coming season.
“To be honest, I had such a hard Season Three, so if I could begin with being in the points on a regular basis, it would already be a good start,” he said. “It’s really hard for me to make any predictions right now.
“[Last season] from Mexico onwards you could see us starting to loose performance in qualifying. For me that’s when they [other teams] got to discover and get to know the tires better and we fell back.
“Going into Season Four we have much better knowledge of everything and hopefully we can make it work better in qualifying.”