Antonio Felix da Costa joins Andretti for third Formula E season

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MS Amlin Andretti has confirmed the signing of Antonio Felix da Costa for the third season of FIA Formula E, due to start in Hong Kong on October 9.

Da Costa raced for Team Aguri in the first two seasons of Formula E, winning the inaugural Buenos Aires ePrix in January 2015 and finishing the last campaign 13th in the drivers’ championship despite racing with a season one powertrain.

Da Costa confirmed over the London ePrix weekend that he would be leaving Team Aguri at the end of the season, with the rebranding Techeetah operation partnering Jean-Eric Vergne with Ma Qinghua for season three.

On Wednesday, Andretti confirmed that da Costa would be joining for the new season, partnering Robin Frijns.

“To join Andretti Formula E is a big thing for me. I have always loved the way Americans go racing, and how they do sports in general,” da Costa said.

“I’m a big fan of IndyCar and, to me, Andretti Autosport has always been an iconic team. To finally be able to say that I’m joining and racing for this amazing team and family is a big deal.

“We have a great team in place, the MS Amlin car looks good and the people around me are super professional. I’m ready to get the season started.”

“We’re very excited to have Antonio join the team for season three,” Andretti team owner Michael Andretti added.

“I feel adding him is going to give us one of the strongest driver line-ups in the field. We’ve been watching Antonio over the last two seasons and I feel he has been very impressive on the racetrack.

“It will be great to be racing with him, instead of against him.”

Da Costa has already conducted testing with Andretti using its new in-house powertrain for season three, and will also work alongside Frijns at Donington Park over the six days of collective testing coming up.

Da Costa has previously expressed an interest in trying out IndyCar, and this move may open up a door for him to race in the United States in the future.

Frijns enjoyed his first test with Andretti at Mid-Ohio last month, lapping just a couple of tenths slower than full-time driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

For now though, da Costa’s focus will be on hitting the ground running in season three and mounting a title bid for the American team.

His arrival is thought to link in with a future tie-up for BMW and Andretti, the former currently fielding da Costa in DTM.

The move does however leave Simona de Silvestro without a seat, although her departure from Andretti’s Formula E operation had been expected after a difficult campaign that yielded just two points finishes.

Michael Andretti told NBC Sports that it was possible that de Silvestro would remain within the Andretti racing setup in some shape or form, but it remains to be seen whether a role comes to fruition.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.