DS Techeetah team principal Mark Preston says he was surprised that Antonio Felix da Costa was able to join the team as a teammate to Jean-Eric Vergne.
Preston and the DS Techeetah team drew up a list of drivers after it became clear in late June that Andre Lotterer had accepted an offer to join the new TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E squad.
It was widely anticipated that da Costa would renew or negotiate a new deal to stay as a BMW driver but matters came to a head just before the New York E-Prix when the Portuguese driver made it known he was open to a move.
“Yes, we were surprised he was available at that stage and open to a move,” Preston told e-racing365.
“But I think what is great about winning multiple championships is that as a team you certainly have a different kind of conversation with a driver.
“When we started in 2016 we were having conversations like ‘Well, one day we would like to be winning races and championships’, so the conversation goes a bit differently which is obviously good for us.
“Still, it was a surprise that he was able to come here.”
Preston confirmed that the championship-winning team had a hit list of talent in order to make a swift decision on replacing Lotterer.
“We’ve always had kind of a list which is actually how we chose Andre at the beginning of Season Four [2017-18] as well,” said Preston.
“One of the biggest things in Formula E is experience and experience counts and there aren’t many available that have that and can prove they can race at the front of the grid and win races.
“He was always one of the top guys we looked and the fact that he fits in well because some of the engineers know him from Aguri days makes it so much easier to integrate into to the simulation program and a whole host of other things in the team.”