Antonio Felix de Costa has revealed that the organisers of last year’s Portuguese Grand Prix were pushing for him to participate in the opening free practice session of the weekend, but the 2019/20 FIA Formula E champion was not prepared to pay for the opportunity.
The twenty-nine-year-old Portuguese racer famously missed out on a promotion to Formula 1 back in 2014 to Daniil Kvyat, has raced in Formula E since the 2014/15 season, with Felix da Costa taking the championship with DS Techeetah last year.
Race promoters at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve were hoping to bring in the former Red Bull Junior for first practice last October and spoke to some of the teams to see if the opportunity was possible, but Felix da Costa says that he was asked by some teams to pay for the chance, something he was not ready to do.
Neither Felix da Costa nor his manager, former Formula 1 racer Tiago Monteiro, instigated the talks, and as such the opportunity passed him by.
“It was nothing to do with me directly and what happened was, I think, the guys from the racetrack wanted to convince the government to sell a few more tickets,” Felix da Costa said to The Race. “It was the promoters of the race.
“They went and spoke to the teams [asking] if they could get me in one of the cars for FP1. I read it in the news and I called Tiago, my manager, and said ‘dude, what is this? Are you talking to anyone? Or did anyone call you?’ And he said ‘I’ve no idea what this is either’.
“We [then] got approached by a few teams and they all wanted money for me to be in the car. I said straight away I wasn’t interested in those conditions, and it was the promoters who kind of tried to put me in the car.
“Maybe the government or whatever would have allowed for a few more tickets to be sold. Whatever investment they would have had to put me in the car would have been covered, or they would even make money on it. So I guess from their side, it was a pure business opportunity.
“But from my side, to be honest, we didn’t have anything to do with that.”