MS&AD Andretti driver Antonio Felix da Costa has praised the involvement of BMW in helping improve the competitiveness of the team.
The German manufacturer is set to make Andretti a works outfit in 2018/19, but da Costa says that BMW have already been a ‘massive help’.
He says that this help came ahead of schedule, which might be seen as a reaction to the team’s disappointing performance last season, where they only managed to achieve six points finishes all season.
“It was a really disappointing season last year, we can’t hide that. We want to get out of that position,” da Costa told Motorsport.com.
“But we have to be realistic. It wasn’t an easy off-season if I’m honest, we had a few technical issues.
“There has been some big, big changes and massive help from BMW after that. I don’t know why that was made but I’m really glad that happened.
“Looking at what we have now, and all the effort coming from BMW, earlier than what I was expecting, is nice.”
Although BMW is still not offering help with Andretti’s powertrain, the Portugese driver said that the car giant’s expertise has been particularly useful in helping him overcome a braking issue that he was having with the car.
“One of our guys looked at our braking and said it’s a mess – I said, ‘I tell you it’s already much, much better than what it was!’
“Making everything a lot more comfortable when you come to a city track just helps me as a driver massively – last year I felt like the f***ing car wanted to put me in the wall.”
And although testing showed Andretti still to be towards the rear of the field, he believes they will be able to make progress up the grid thanks to BMW’s help.
“The delta to the quickest guys is probably the same but I believe we can get that reduced. It does take a lot of work, and a lot of software work, to make braking better, get more power, more efficiency, and make the car better for the driver.”