Formula E: di Grassi, da Costa still with something to prove in Miami

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MIAMI – Heading into the fifth round of the FIA Formula E Championship season, one driver seeks a bounceback after a suspension failure damaged his win chances. The other seeks to prove his victory in the most recent race wasn’t a fluke.

For Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Amlin Aguri), the Miami ePrix is a big opportunity to either make amends on the last round in Buenos Aires, Argentina or continue their pursuit of the leading entries this season.

Di Grassi, the series points leader, was both fast and consistent in the opening three rounds. With three podium finishes including a win in the series-opening Beijing ePrix in September, di Grassi leapt out to an impressive score of 58 points from three races.

But the suspension failure in Buenos Aires brought the field closer. Three drivers – Virgin’s Sam Bird and the e.dams pair of Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost – are within 15 points, and thus in striking range to take over the championship lead this weekend.

“Yes, there was a suspension failure, and we don’t know what caused it,” di Grassi said during Friday’s FIA Formula E Championship press conference in Miami. “We need to have a stronger suspension for the car, which is essential.

“The teams are catching us up. It’s very challenging and we have to drive more on the limit.”

Da Costa, who emerged victorious in Buenos Aires, said the kerbs were likely to cause a wealth of suspension issues.

“We knew from day one in preseason, the suspensions are very fragile,” da Costa told MotorSportsTalk. “Even putting a wheel off, they can bend straightaway, let alone if you hit the high kerbs. I understand they’re fragile so the batteries don’t have to bring weight. I was lucky though, in the right spot, right time.”

The Portuguese driver is playing catchup this season after missing the season-opening round in Beijing due to his DTM commitments. He also acknowledged the team has made strides since the season opener.

“To be perfectly honest, we started as backmarkers,” da Costa admitted. “We put the team together very late. We have been playing a little bit of a catchup game. I missed first race due to DTM so this didn’t help.

“Every weekend we’re doing more to help us improve. We’re finally getting close to the top teams. We should be closer more towards the end of season.”

Amlin Aguri, which began the year with Takuma Sato and Katherine Legge, now has da Costa and Salvador Duran in the cars this weekend. Legge, who’s here this weekend, may return alongside da Costa later this season.

Alas it’s di Grassi’s Audi Sport Abt team that Amlin Aguri – and others – are seeking to catch in terms of outright pace this weekend.

Di Grassi has downplayed the performance thus far and notes the improved presence of the other nine teams on the grid.

“We’re just trying to keep it up,” the Brazilian said. “There’s still seven races to go, so we’re not even close to being through half of it. We try to make the best of what we can get.

“The championship is picking up more and more. The driver who gets faster into the track, and a little bit of edge can have a good result. It’s absolutely open to see who will win.”

Given the first four races of the championship thus far, it is indeed.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.