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Sims: “Breakdown in Communication” Caused Incident

A breakdown in communication contributed to the Sims/da Costa incident in Marrakesh…

Photo: BMW

Alexander Sims says that a team-wide lack of communication contributed to the incident between himself and teammate Antonio Felix da Costa that ended BMW’s hopes of a 1-2 in Marrakesh.

Sims was on the tail of race leader da Costa with 10 minutes of the E-Prix remaining when the BMW i Andretti Motorsport pair clashed at turn seven.

While da Costa retired on the spot, Sims fell back to fourth position as Mahindra Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio surged through to take an unexpected victory.

“I just think we managed the situation up to that point poorly,” Sims told e-racing365.

“I don’t think we can apportion blame on one individual though.

“The mistake was the breakdown in communication and we need to learn from that obviously.”

Sims believes that he also needs to learn about conversing more with his team in race situations and that collective blame for the incident should be attributed.

“We’ve got some good data to learn from to make sure that what occurred today doesn’t happen again,” he said.

“I should have said more about what I felt we should do and we need to discuss it as a team.

“Likewise, I also needed them to discuss with me what Antonio was doing compared to what I was doing, so we needed to do better, so it’s just a mistake from all of us I think.”

Da Costa, meanwhile, placed the blame on himself for the incident which saw him surrender his early championship lead to d’Ambrosio.

“I would like to apologize to the whole team,” said da Costa.

“Alex did a great job today. I held my ground when he drew level with me and my front wheels locked up.

“That was my mistake and it had negative consequences for me and for Alex. I should have let him go past and been content with second place.”

BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt asserted after the race that such an incident “will not occur again”.

“Regrettably, we didn’t manage to capitalize on our good performance,” he said.

“We have analyzed the incident with both drivers and we will learn from this as the season continues.”

Sims “Didn’t Want to Attack” da Costa

Sims, competing in his second Formula E race, described how he and da Costa looked to be in control out front up until the last quarter of the 45-minute contest.

However, when the Envision Virgin Racing pair of Robin Frijns and Sam Bird deployed their second attack mode boost, concern spread about the diminishing gap.

“We used our attack mode and pulled a decent gap and it seemed like we were relatively fast and efficient,” said Sims.

“I didn’t really want to attack Antonio. I kept saving and trying to create a gap so that I could drive in clean air and not affect his race, to think about the overall team, but at some point the others started to catch us.

“I figured I don’t want to sit here and get overtaken because I was cruising.”

Sims’ fourth-place result in Morocco marked the first points haul of his debut Formula E season and places him eighth in the drivers’ championship.

Da Costa, meanwhile, moves down to second behind d’Ambrosio with 12 points separating the top two drivers.

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

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    January 12, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Yup, part of the problem is BMW’s system of giving driving contracts just weeks before the first race of the contract. Sims found out his new job only in December. That leaves very little time for team cohesiveness training. Bill Auberlen said that when they changed him from full-time GTLM to part time plus “ambassador” role, it was the first time he knew his job for one than the end of that season. Compare that to how Fehan treats his Corvette drivers and how Allan Border rebuilt the Aussie cricket team in the late 1980’s. Those folks aren’t known for silly mistakes.

  2. Avatar

    Kris G.

    January 13, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Official post-race debrief. Very explanatory:
    https://twitter.com/FIAFormulaE/status/1084126411328241666

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