Antonio Felix da Costa has apologised for the incident that happened between himself and Jacques Villeneuve during the season opening ePrix in Beijing.
Overall, Saturday proved to be fairly difficult for da Costa after he qualified 16th, the Portuguese driver lining up just ahead of his new teammate, Nathanaël Berthon, not a position he had expected to be in at the start of the season.
The first stint seemed to be fairly positive for the Team Aguri driver as he managed to find a consistent pace and made some clear overtakes to find himself within the Top Ten before a technical issue on his in lap, undoing all of the challenging work he had managed to put in before his pitstop.
“The first half of the race was really good. I had a lot of fun making some passes and was really good on the energy consumption side,” said Felix da Costa. “I had a technical issue on the in-lap and had to enter the pits very slowly, which lost me all the positions I’d gained.”
After struggling with a few issues with his steering wheel after his pitstop, Felix da Costa found himself making contact with Villeneuve when the former Formula 1 World Champion braking ahead of him. Unfortunately for the Team Aguri driver, his race was cut short by the damage caused during the incident.
“With the second car, there was a mistake on the steering wheel – the mapping switch wasn’t correctly set.
When I went to set it I found Villeneuve braking in front of me. I’m sorry for the team, and I’m also sorry for Jacques – it was my error.”
Although Felix da Costa was forced to retire after his mistake, Villeneuve was able to continue even though the Canadian finished a lap down from the rest of the field.
Team Principal Mark Preston commented on the incident, saying: “…Unfortunately, Antonio had an accident after a fantastic start, and we had a technical issue that meant he lost positions, too.
These things happen, you have to learn from them and move on. There’s no doubt we’ve got work to do but to open with points is really pleasing.”
The next ePrix takes place in Malaysia in just two weeks’ time.