It has been another tumultuous race for the American Andretti Formula E team. While Robin Frijns managed to secure the first point finish ever since Hongkong, it was another disappointing day for Antonio Felix da Costa who had to take an early ride back to the pits.
The Paris ePrix ended with mixed feelings for the Andretti Formula E tean. While Robin Frijns was able to score the team’s first points since the Hong Kong ePrix in the beginning of the season, the Portuguese Antonio Felix da Costa just gained some – rather unfortunate -experience. Rather than crossing the finish line, he had to watch the race from behind the barriers after making contact with Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport).
Teammate Frijns meanwhile was able to profit from some restart confusion between Daniel Abt (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) and Techeetah’s Esteban Gutierrez. As Frijns was handed a five-second penalty, said confusion allowed him to nevertheless secure his position within the top-ten.
“Finally, a good result for the MS Amlin Andretti team. It’s amazing how much it lifts the spirits of the people in the garage. Speaking for Antonio, we are disappointed for him, involved in what appeared to be an unnecessary collision with another competitor. That ended his race and he never got the opportunity to progress further through the field. It was a disappointing qualifying for him, we need to look at why he started so far back. On the other side of the garage with Robin, what we’ve shown is if we can have a good starting position in qualifying then we just make life a lot easier for ourselves.“
“We found a few things for qualifying, got a good position and then Robin drove a really smart race. He overtook a couple of cars with some aggressive but clean moves and he drove smart, meeting all of his energy targets, bringing the car home in sixth place. It’s good for the team to get those extra points and move up a spot in the team championship. With six more races to go, the next stop is Berlin and we are looking forward to trying to consistently be in a points scoring position.“
For Antonio Felix da Costa the Paris ePrix was a day to forget. His times during the FPs were never fast enough for the top-ten and said story continued in qualifying, where he struggled to find any grip. In the end, he had to start from P17, which already implied how big of a challenge it would be to finally add some more points to his account.
But da Costa – being a racer through and through – climbed into his car highly motivated. He drove a smart race and managed to shwo some exciting overtakes on this tight track. Unfortunatel,y his race took an unexpected turn on lap 19. Da Costa tried to take P14 from Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) using the inner line, but the Brazilian switched from the outer line to the racing line and both cars collided at the of the straight. Whilst di Grassi could still make it back to the pits, da Costa’s race was over. This manoeuvre led to the 5th consecutive zero points-finish for the Portuguese.
“It was obviously a frustrating weekend. We will try and investigate what went wrong. Obviously, my teammate Robin did a very good job and came home sixth. We have some good data to look at and will try and build on that for the next one. It’s been a frustrating couple of months of my racing career. With all these bad things happening, we need to catch a break. It comes and goes so we will keep on pushing and look forward to Berlin.”
Robin Frijns showed a pretty solid performance throughout the whole weekend. Times in both FPs and qualifying were almost always good enough for a top-ten result, which allowed him to start the race from P8. And it could have been even better: he just missed out on the Superpole shootout by 0.043 seconds.
During the race, the Dutchman confirmed that he was capable of scoring points for his team. It was no problem for him to follow the cars in front, but the track around Les Invalides is very tight and it was difficult to find the space overtake. Nevertheless, he was able to finish the race in 5th position, but was given a 5 seconds time penalty for speeding under FCY, which finally classified him as 6th.
“It was one of the more bizarre races in my career. I think luck was definitely on our side. I was fighting with Gutierrez the whole race and overtook him in the second car, which was good. Then [Lucas] di Grassi was behind me and got a drive-through penalty which put Prost behind me, who was a bit faster than me but the safety car came out. Then I had a five-second penalty which wasn’t so lucky but rules are rules. In the end, [Daniel] Abt had an issue and slowed everybody down which helped us. It’s been a long time since I’ve had points and to finish P6 is really important for the team and for me.”
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