Formula E

BMW i come away with a sour taste from Hong Kong

2 Mins read
Antonio Felix da Costa - BMW i Andretti Motorsport at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix
Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images

BMW i Andretti Motorsport had their worst result of the season so far at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix on Sunday.

After being off the pace in practice due to the pouring rain, Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims were up against it in qualifying and the race.

Da Costa had his lowest grid position of season five with twentieth but had carved his way through the field to finish with a lucky point in tenth after Andre Lotterer’s last lap puncture.

The Portuguese driver believes BMW must “analyse” why they were so far off the pace in the wet conditions.

“It was clear after qualifying that it was going to be difficult,” Da Costa said.

“Particularly at a circuit where there are hardly any overtaking opportunities. All the safety car periods meant that nobody needed to conserve energy and the pace of all the cars was virtually the same.

“It was almost impossible to make an overtaking manoeuvre. Having said that, we did manage to score a point. We must analyse why our pace was so poor in the wet, especially as it was okay in similar conditions in Ad Diriyah and at the test in Valencia.

“We must now concentrate fully on the next race in Sanya.”

Antonio Felix da Costa - BMW i Andretti Motorsport at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix.

Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images

Team-mate Sims qualified seven places higher than da Costa but a poor first lap meant the Brit fell to the back of the field by the early red flag. The event for him got worse when he clouted his left-rear against the barrier later on, forcing Sims to retire in the pits.

“That was an up and down day. Some sessions were better than others,” Sims mentioned.

“The pace was actually okay. In the race, I had a fantastic opening lap. I was aggressive but considered, which paid off.

“However, I then learned another lesson about Formula E: in this series, it is so easy to make a mistake in these cars, as they are difficult to drive at the limit. My front wheels locked under braking on lap two and I missed the corner.

“My race was over from that point on. I found myself at the back of the field again. I pushed and tested the limits, then I hit the wall and that was the end of my race. I will try to take the positives from this and to finally have a clean weekend.

“If I can do that, we will get the results that our work actually deserves.”

The solitary point in Hong Kong leaves BMW fifth in the teams’ standings, thirty-two points off top spot. Team Principal Roger Griffiths was unhappy with the result despite his “high expectations” before the race.

“That is not the result we were looking for in Hong Kong. We arrived here with high expectations,” Griffiths added.

“The circuit should actually have suited us and António has been extremely competitive here in the past. The conditions were very difficult and qualifying, when the track was wet at first, meant we were playing catch-up from therein.

“Qualifying is the key to success in Formula E. This weekend showed once again that it is difficult to get to the front if you start from the middle or back of the field.

Griffiths took some positives from the race though, particularly with Sims’ lightning start before his mistake.

“Alex got off to a great start and climbed five places. Unfortunately, he then made a mistake which saw him drop to the back of the field,” Griffiths explained.

“He tried to work his way back into the race, but had to retire with a broken suspension after hitting the wall. António worked his way through the field, but then got stuck outside the top ten.

“We ultimately benefitted from retirements and managed to pick up a point. Every point helps, but that is definitely not what we wanted to achieve here.”

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