The Berlin ePrix double-header, rounds eight and nine of the FIA Formula E championship, was a frustrating one for BMW i-supported MS Amlin Andretti. Neither António Félix da Costa (POR) nor Robin Frijns (NED) scored points, with a best finish of 11th for the Portuguese driver in Sunday’s 46-lap event.
Qualifying: Saturday 10th June
It was a disappointing qualifying session for the MS Amlin Andretti drivers. Both were drawn in the first qualifying group, an immediate disadvantage on a dirty track. Neither had a session to be happy about, with Robin Frijns managing 17th position – 1:09.630 – and António Félix da Costa having an even harder struggle, ending 20th on the grid after an error on his fastest lap – 1:11.147.
The Race: Saturday 10th June
The first race of the Berlin double header brought few positives for either Frijns or Félix da Costa. With the pair struggling for outright pace on a track not well suited to the Andretti ATEC-002, the team decided to gamble on efficiency. Both drivers settled into a rhythm to save energy and made a later pitstop than the competition. Frijns managed to make it to lap 23 of 44, while Félix da Costa pitted on the 24th. However, the extra energy saved was not enough to make progress for the second part of the race. The MS Amlin Andretti pair crossed the line 17th and 18th, Félix da Costa bettering his teammate on the last lap. Post-race disqualification for a competitor meant each gained a place in the final standings: 16th and 17th positions.
Qualifying: Sunday 11th June
Sunday’s qualifying session was a small improvement over Saturday’s. Robin Frijns, from qualifying group four, was able to take 14th on the grid, with António Félix da Costa managing 17th from the third group. Frijns’ time was 1:08.583, while his Portuguese teammate lapped in 1:09.085.
The Race: Sunday 11th June
The second race of the weekend, at 46 laps two longer than the first, was agonising for the MS Amlin Andretti team. In a chaotic start, both drivers gained places, with Félix da Costa making it to 12th, and Frijns 13th position. Crucially, the Portuguese was able to hold his place and maintain his energy reserves until his 23rd lap pitstop. He emerged 11th and, despite several incidents in the second half of the event, he would finish there, frustratingly just outside the points-paying positions. Frijns was unable to hold on to 13th, dropping places and eventually pitting in 18th position, where he would finish the race.
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “Sunday’s race was a big improvement over Saturday’s, but I don’t come here to be happy with 11th place. The good thing is that no one in the team is happy to be outside the points. We have the ambition to move forwards – we know our limitations but moving to New York we can focus on the improvements we made between the two races this weekend.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “We knew before we came here that this would be a tough weekend, and that was the case. Saturday was a tough day, and Sunday was a tough day too – though António did a better job. I can’t figure out why he had the edge in the second race, so I’m going to check the data and focus ahead for New York.”
FIA Formula E heads across the Atlantic for rounds nine and 10 of the series. New York promises to be a thrilling setting for an ePrix, with the race taking place in Brooklyn, in sight of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. The New York ePrix is also the first FIA-sanctioned event ever held in New York City.[Photos: Spacesuit Media]