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Griffiths: Marrakesh Incident Affected 2018-19 Campaign

Roger Griffiths believes the BMW drivers’ clash in Marrakesh affected the rest of the season…

Photo: BMW

BMW i Andretti Motorsport team principal Roger Griffiths believes that the incident which cost the team a likely 1-2 finish in January’s Marrakesh E-Prix had a knock-on effect on the rest of the team’s season.

A win, two pole positions and a fifth-place finish in the final teams’ standings were the headlines from the squad’s first campaign under the BMW i Andretti Motorsport entry name.

Antonio Felix da Costa went to the season finale in New York City as a title outsider but the points lost in Morocco in the second race of the season compromized a more concerted title attack.

“Had we won [Marrakesh] and come 1-2 then I think we would have gone in to the next race in Santiago in a very different frame of mind,” Griffiths told e-racing365.

“I think we went into Santiago a little bit on the defensive and a little bit ‘we just can’t mess up here’ and we put more pressure on ourselves than we needed to.

“If we would have turned up there having won the first two races then there just would have been a different mind-set in the team.

“Then you’ve got the feeling that maybe this isn’t our year. Who knows what the psychological impact might have been but I think it had a bearing on how some of the future races played out.”

Griffiths, speaking to e-racing365 before knowledge of da Costa’s exit from the team was known, says that the Portuguese driver remained largely unaffected by the Marrakesh disappointment.

“I never saw Antonio’s confidence waver, he’s always strong in that respect,” he said. “He knows what he wants and he is forthright in his opinions and he has a lot of experience.”

The BMW drivers remained on good terms despite the incident in Morocco, something which was helped by da Costa’s unselfish approach to working alongside then-rookie Sims.

“He was always very generous in his support, feedback and help to Alexander as well so the chemistry between the drivers was pretty strong, as it was within the team,” recalled Griffiths.

UK Base Expands

The Andretti Formula E Ltd. operation has been expanding and growing its UK base in Banbury since spring and will continue to have a considerable engineering and operational base there for the 2019-20 season.

The company was initially registered from Banbury and has continued to be run as a British entrant even after morphing into BMW i Andretti Motorsport in 2018.

“There will be a bit more emphasis and focus on the Banbury office,” said Griffiths.

“We’ve spent the last few months bringing Banbury online and building some infrastructure there, so the race engineering and operations can be focused out of Banbury.”

The Research and Development of the program will continue to be controlled from BMW in Munich in addition to a technical partnership with the Magna Steyr engineering specialist.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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