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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.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.