Formula E: Antonio Felix da Costa wins after chaotic conclusion in Buenos Aires (VIDEO)


As if somebody had walked into a room and flipped the light switch, today’s FIA Formula E race in Buenos Aires went from calm to crazy.

Let’s count the ways this 35-lapper descended into madness.

1) Pole sitter Sebastien Buemi ran up front all day on the streets of the Puerto Madero district until Lap 23. Going into a chicane that had been the site of an earlier crash involving Karun Chandhok, Buemi appears to clip the inside wall and then runs over the curbing. This breaks his suspension and ends his race.

2) Buemi’s incident hands the lead to championship leader Lucas di Grassi, who had been 3-for-3 in podium finishes this season.

It looks like he’s in position for his second win of the 2014-15 campaign, but on Lap 27, he crashes in the same chicane that got Buemi and Chandhok.

3) Now it’s Nick Heidfeld’s turn in the lead for the Venturi team. In September’s season opener at Beijing, Heidfeld battled for the lead on the final lap before contact with Nicolas Prost had him launched airborne over a curb and into a barrier. So does fate smile upon him here?

Nope. With three laps to go, race stewards tagged him for speeding in pit lane and had him come in to serve a drive-through penalty.

That left Antonio Felix da Costa as the new leader, but while the drivers behind him got pushy in their final battles for position, he managed to bring home his Amlin Aguri machine and win over Prost and third-place finisher Nelson Piquet Jr.

“I knew we had the pace,” da Costa said. “I had some issues in qualifying, so I’m really happy we managed to get through the field. I kept a bit of energy to be able to attack Heidfeld in the end but then it wasn’t necessary after he got a penalty…We have to keep working hard to continue like that.”

While da Costa celebrates, the F-E championships have been impacted as the series takes a two-month break before returning to action on March 14 in Miami.

Di Grassi’s 18-point lead in the driver’s race has been chopped to 10 over Putrajaya race winner Sam Bird, who finished seventh in today’s event. Buemi has slipped to third in the standings, down 15 points.

But despite Buemi’s DNF, Prost’s runner-up performance kept e.dams-Renault atop the team championship by an 11-point gap over Bird’s Virgin Racing outfit.

Bird’s teammate, Jaime Alguersuari, survived multiple run-ins with competitors in the last few laps to finish fourth today. Bruno Senna rounded out the Top 5 finishers.

As for American driver Marco Andretti, his F-E debut didn’t go as well as he would have liked. The IndyCar veteran finished 13th for the Andretti team.

He tweeted after the race that during a caution at the mid-way point, he had been held behind the safety car for an unspecified reason. According to him, that put him one lap down before overheating issues hurt his car later on.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.