The MS Amlin Andretti team saw plenty of promise, but was rewarded with no points at the Marrakesh ePrix in Morocco, the second round of the 2016/2017 season in the FIA Formula E Championship. Robin Frijns (NL) was 11th, while BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (PT) ended his race early after system issues with the first of his two ATEC-002 chassis.
The two MS Amlin Andretti cars started side-by-side on the fifth row on the grid. Frijns, running in the fourth qualifying group, recorded a time of 1:21.912 mins for ninth position, while Félix da Costa, from the first group, managed 1:22.073 mins for tenth.
The results at the Marrakesh ePrix, the first FIA Formula E Championship event in Africa, unfortunately did not live up to the team’s hopes. At the start, both drivers were running together, before Félix da Costa passed his teammate for ninth place. The Portuguese driver was managing energy and running well, challenging for the top six, when he stopped on track. Despite being able to restart after a delay, the team was forced to switch cars on lap 12 of 33, far too early to realistically make the finish – the Marrakesh ePrix was the longest in Formula E’s history. Félix da Costa then aimed to earn the single point available for fastest lap, but was pipped to the accolade by another competitor just before the finish.
Frijns’ race fell just short of points-paying positions. After falling behind his teammate, he was then passed by Lucas di Grassi (BR) and Nick Heidfeld (DE) on lap 5, leaving him 12th. After the pit stop on lap 18, he rejoined in the same position. He then moved up to 11th, where he remained until the finish. Victory went to Sébastien Buemi (CH).
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “We had a good start to the race and gained a position straightaway. I was feeling good in the car and we had very good energy management; we were running in the top 10 and looking good to get a few more places. Then we had a technical issue with the car and we stopped on track. That was the end of the race for us, really. We came in and I jumped into the other car with the goal of going for the Fastest Lap, which we held until a lap or two from the end. It’s frustrating because it has been a month of hard work for the MS Amlin Andretti team.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “The start of the race was okay. On the first lap, I out-braked myself and António overtook me. I came to a point when I was a bit quicker than Heidfeld and he seemed to be struggling. I went for a gap and he defended, I braked and locked the two fronts in the corner causing me to spin. It was unlucky and unfortunate, but it was one of those times when you try something and, if it works you’re a hero, and if it doesn’t you’re on the outside. It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t score any points today, at maximum we could have been P8. Hopefully the next race will be a better one.”
The third race of the FIA Formula E Championship is scheduled for 18th February 2017; the Buenos Aires ePrix, in Argentina’s vibrant capital city.