A tearful Antonio Felix Da Costa apologised to his BMW i Andretti Autosport team after both his and his team’s dream start to Season 5 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship turned into a nightmare as Jerome D’Ambrosio won in Marrakesh.
Da Costa took the blame for a moment of madness in which he collided with teammate Alexander Sims with 10 minutes to go as Sims looked to overtake despite the pair seemingly cruising to a one-two victory. This would have continued the unbelievable start to BMW’s Formula E journey following Da Costa’s win in Ad Diriyah.
The Portuguese ended up in the wall while Sims dropped back to fourth as Mahindra Racing’s D’Ambrosio and Envision Virgin Racing pair Robin Frijns and Sam Bird took advantage of the unbelievable collision.
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The tone had been set on the carnage after champion Jean-Eric Vergne spun 180 degrees to cause chaos on the very first corner but BMW suffered the most drama causing Da Costa to stay out on the side of the track, talking to himself in disbelief, until the race had finished.
And after experiencing both the agony and the ecstasy of Formula E in two races, Da Costa held up his hands and insisted it was something the team would learn from as they remain intent on lifting the title.
“I want to apologise to the team I have never been in this situation before. I’m sorry,” he said “Alex was amazing today and I made a mistake. We fought for it, I locked up and as a consequence he lost the wheel as well.
“I think I should have given him the race earlier – we won round one we should have been happy with this and what we did today is not how we will win the championship.”
Sims, who was setting faster lap times in the lead up to the overtake attempts added his own thoughts.
“It was unfortunate to end like that, it is not what any of us in this team would want,” he said. “We all made mistakes in managing that situation and we’ll come back stronger.
“I could see the cars catching me and felt I needed to make a move but the way we all went about it was wrong.”
The day belonged to Mahindra Racing’s D’Ambrosio who negotiated through the bedlam, using Attack Mode to perfection, to take the chequered flag after starting in 10th position.
One of the most dramatic Formula E races ever set the standard on the first corner as Vergne’s spin trying to overtake pole-position taker Bird took fellow top-six drivers Mitch Evans from Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Sebastien Buemi with him as they swerved to avoid. Vergne eventually climbed to fifth.
It was another day to forget for the new faces on the grid coming from Formula One. Pascal Wehrlein’s debut lasted five minutes before technical issues ended his race – the young German taking his anger out physically on the Mahindra Racing garage.
Stoffel Vandoorne barely lasted a lap before he was forced off and Venturi Formula E Team’s Felipe Massa suffered a tough day from start to finish and ended the day in 18th position.