Antonio Felix da Costa has raced in all five seasons of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A win during the inaugural season in Buenos Aires marked him as a star on the rise. However, additional wins proved elusive. A combination of bad reliability and frequent misfortune put the podium out of reach for the series’ first four seasons.
During the first two seasons of Formula E, da Costa was also driving for BMW in the DTM touring series. That piece eventually came together when da Costa moved to Michael Andretti’s operation, which would evolve into BMW Andretti Motorsport at the start of the 2018-19 season.
The season-opening round in Saudi Arabia was the first race with the fully proprietary BMW powertrain, and it netted da Costa his long-sought second win. It also brought renewed levels of expectation.
“It’s obviously a good thing winning the first race, but it puts the bar right up there,” said da Costa. “We had the incident with (teammate) Alex (Simms) in Marrakesh in the next race, which was obviously very harsh coming from the win. But I have to say that as a team that accident brought us closer, and from there we all worked together really well. A couple of races later we were back on the podium, and by Sanya (China, Round 6) we regained the championship lead.”
Da Costa arrives for the championship finale double-header in New York fifth in the points and still in with a chance of the title if everything goes his way.
“This track can be good for us, but also good for a lot of other drivers. It’s so competitive,” said da Costa. “It’s up to me to not make any mistakes and drive well in qualifying to get us into Super Pole in order to have a chance at the win and keep our hopes alive for the championship on Sunday.”
Win or lose, it’s clear is that da Costa desire’s for success has only intensified.
“Having won that first race and a few more podiums after that just made me even more hungry,” he admitted. “When I’m off the pace, it’s just painful. But now, it’s like, ‘What can we do to be better, to win more races?’ So the mindset changes. We are no longer happy with a P6 or P7. Last year, a P6 would have been a victory for us.”
Though he’s focused on the immediate challenge contending for the season five title in New York, da Costa also has an eye on the future.
“We have to arrive at the next season as the ones being chased, not doing the chasing,” he states. “To do that there are so many little things that have to come together, and this year having been in the fight will set us up better for the future.”
Now 27, da Costa has made a home and a career in Formula E. He concedes that prior to the championship starting back in 2014, he had his own doubts about its viability and legitimacy. The doubts are gone; only the challenge remains.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done with my career,” da Costa concludes. “I just want to set myself up to win this championship.”