Just Electric

Andretti aiming for a big step forward

For American team MS&AD Andretti, Season 4 wasn’t the easiest of times.

Despite having a positive first half of the season – scoring points in four out of six races – the second half did not go as expected.

One solitary points finish in the last six races led to them finishing at the bottom of the Teams’ Championship standings; but with the upcoming arrival of a new era in electric racing, the squad – now partnered with BMW – aims to make a big step forward next season.

MS&AD Andretti’s 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Statistics:

Wins: 0

Podiums: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 6th
(da Costa in Hong Kong Race 1)

Championship Points: 24

Constructors’ Championship: 10th

It was Antonio Felix da Costa’s second season with the outfit. In the first weekend of the season, he teamed up with Toyota WEC driver Kamui Kobayashi. There was initially some confusion over Kobayashi’s entry, as the entry list released by the FIA had Tom Blomqvist in that seat. The team later announced that the Japanese would do a one-off, and the British driver would join the team full-time in Marrakesh.

The team collected eight points in the first two rounds, and would score again in Morocco, as Blomqvist finished P8 on his debut. As the fully-electric championship travelled to the Americas, the team collected two more point finishes in Santiago and Mexico City.

In the following four races, MS&AD Andretti was unable to score points. Ahead of the Berlin ePrix, the team announced that Stéphane Sarrazin was joining them, replacing Tom Blomqvist. Sarrazin, who had previously driven for Venturi and TECHEETAH, made his first Season 4 appearance on German soil.

Four points were collected in Zürich, before the team’s home race in New York, where misfortunes struck the team again, and Andretti finished the last race of the season with no points in the bag.


António Félix da Costa

Wins: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 6th

Drivers’ Championship: 15th (20 points)

Season 3 had been a tough one for the Portuguese, and the aims were to improve the car’s performance to be back in the points-scoring positions.

In the first round of the Hong Kong ePrix, he would score eight points; but despite the fact that he couldn’t repeat the feat in the following day’s race, da Costa expressed his enthusiasm that finally things were falling into place.

Marrakesh saw him finish outside the Top 10, but he was already back in the points for Santiago. But his highlight would be Mexico City, where he achieved a front-row start in Super Pole.

This highlight was to be short-lived, however, as da Costa was later stripped from that P2 start due to a penalty, as his car was underweight. However, he was able to bounce back, and scored 6 more points at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with a seventh place finish.

For four races in a row, misfortunes hit his car, and he could not finish within the Top 10. In Zürich, he scored four points, but in the following two races in New York City, he again could not finish within the points.

As Season 5 sees the introduction of the Gen 2 car, a new chapter opens for both teams and drivers in Formula E. Da Costa’s long ties with BMW make him one of the strongest candidates to one of the seats BMW I ANDRETTI will have in the series’ fifth season. Experience and knowledge of the championship may be a big advantage for the Portuguese ahead of securing a drive for 2018-19.

Tom Blomqvist

Wins: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 8th

Drivers’ Championship: 20th (4 points)

Blomqvist’s arrival in the fully-electric championship was rumoured since BMW increased its involvement with Andretti. The Brit had been racing for the Munich-based marque in DTM since 2015, and his single-seater record was a very fruitful one.

The son of the 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist appeared on the entry list the FIA released days before the start of the season, but it would be Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi who would race in Hong Kong instead of him.

His debut finally took place in Marrakesh, where he displayed a good performance that saw him finish in P8. With a good start to the season, the team had hopes the Blomqvist-da Costa duo would be able to score valuable points.

However, things got tough from then on for Blomqvist, who would not be able to score any more points in the following races.

He suffered a lot of issues with his car, which complicated the situation for him. His last Formula E race of the season, the Paris ePrix, saw him struggling from the start, as he was involved in a crash with Evans and Prost, which ruined his possibilities to have a clean race up to the points.

Kamui Kobayashi

Wins: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 15th

Drivers’ Championship: 24th (0 points)

Anyone who follows WEC closely and has followed Formula 1 in the recent years, is familiar with Kobayashi. The Japanese, who is known to be a super quick driver at the wheel of his Toyota LMP1, had his taste of Formula E in the Hong Kong season opener.

Despite not taking part in the collective pre-season testing, Kobayashi was announced as da Costa’s teammate for the first ePrix of the season. His participation in the race was linked to one of the team’s sponsors, as it was later revealed.

Kobayashi, who drove with a Monaco license, couldn’t score points in the two races he took part in, as the narrow streets of Hong Kong proved a challenge not only for him, but for many other rookie drivers.

If there is one iconic moment Kobayashi had on his short Formula E spell, it has to be his “No lunch, no breakfast, no radio!”, comment after all teams had issues with the radio communications.

Stéphane Sarrazin

Wins: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Best Result: 12th

Drivers’ Championship: 22nd (0 points)

France’s Stéphane Sarrazin became the twelfth driver to take part in at least one round of every Formula E season, as he was announced to replace Tom Blomqvist for the remainder of the season from Berlin onwards.

Things did not go easy for the Frenchman, as he struggled and could not score points at the wheel of his MS&AD Andretti.

However, considering his vast experience in the fully-electric championship, the decision to get him to drive the Andretti ATEC-03 was a reasonable one, as him and da Costa are two of the most experienced drivers in the series having both been involved since Season 1.

Andrea Perilli

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