Formula E

Disappointing Valencia E-Prix weekend for reigning champions DS Techeetah

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Courtesy of Formula E

The DS Techeetah team scored only eleven points over the weekend with issues plaguing Antonio Felix Da Costa in both races on Saturday and Sunday. Jean-Éric Vergne scored the most points for his team.

Antonio Felix Da Costa (DS Techeetah) had issues with his energy management during Saturday Round five’s wet race: he led the race from pole position after Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes EQ Formula E team) was disqualified due to tyre infringement.

Things aren’t coming together naturally at the moment, but that is the position that we find ourselves in and this is where we put our heads down to turn that around and come back strong for Monaco” said the Portuguese driver after the race.

A miscalculation in the number of race laps from the DS Techeetah team and an error from the race direction reduced the energy on most cars by about 14%, which caused five drivers to be disqualified after the race for lack of energy. Felix Da Costa was one of them.

On Sunday, he had a problem with his Attack Mode activation, for which he was penalized and it dropped him down to twenty-second position at the end of the race.

We have had super pace the whole weekend,  pole position yesterday and I led the whole way,” he said. “I also had a strong race today, coming from the mid-field to the front saving a lot of energy but then we had an issue with my ATTACK MODE and I got a drive-through penalty for that.”

His team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne was slightly more fortunate in both Rounds five and six: he did a clean race on Saturday, giving his team points with his ninth place finish, and then went on to score six points on Sunday. This kept the DS Techeetah team in fourth place in the championship.

“You know, you win some and you lose some,” said Vergne. “It has not been an easy weekend but at least we scored in both races, and as we know those could be the points we need at the end of the season to make a real difference, but it is going to be paramount to try and win the next race.

“So now it is full focus on trying to find every little piece of performance that we can get and come to Monaco with a full toolbox.”

The Chinese team had a tough start to the season, with one race victory in Rome and a third-place podium finish in Diriyah Round two as their highlights. They were last year’s ABB FIA Formula E team’s championship winner but seem to be lacking the pace and consistency to win this year.

Mark Preston, DS Techeetah Team Principal, said the team was now looking forward to Monaco, as Jean-Éric Vergne won there last time.

“Valencia didn’t turn out to be the race weekend we were looking for but that is racing,” said Preston last Sunday. “JEV did a great quali today topping his group and the one after him. The final group all qualified ahead which proves that the track evolution came to play.

“Both drivers did really well to climb up the pack and at a couple of times, JEV was up in P4 so we definitely have the pace which was good to see. Antonio unintentionally triggered his ATTACK MODE too many times and therefore got penalised as he couldn’t then take his second one. This triggered a drive-through penalty which then put him towards the back.

“If the race would have turned out like yesterday, he could have won with the extra 5% energy he had obtained, but that was not the case today so now we turn our focus towards Monaco. The last time we were there we had a great race with JEV winning and we are all looking forward to racing through the tunnel for the first time.”

The race in the Principality will take place on 8 May 2021 and will feature the full Circuit de Monaco for the first time.

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