When the FIA Formula E Championship enters its fourth season with the Hong Kong ePrix (HKG) on the first weekend in December, BMW will be involved once again as part of their close cooperation with Andretti Formula E, and will continue with preparations for the works entry in Season 5. And a familiar face will man the cockpit: BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (POR) will contest the 14 races around the world for the MS&AD Andretti team.
According to Autosport, the second driver seat could be shared by BMW drivers Alexander Sims and Tom Blomqvist. The duo also shared the #27 cars in pre-season testing at Valencia last week. Robin Frijns, who competed for Andretti last year, has been shuffled out of the team.
But the driver decision is complicated by the DTM not announcing its 2018 calendar yet, but one option would be to run Blomqvist in the opening few races before bringing Sims in once the German tin-top category kicks off next year’s campaign.
FE teams can change drivers twice in a season without sanction, but not in the final three events unless it is deemed force majeure.
Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths told Autosport he had approached the Valencia test “without even considering this is a shootout between two drivers”.
“There’s a lot of things we’ve got to factor in and it’ll probably be a week or two before we say ‘these are our conclusions’,” he said.
“We’ve not come into this test with any preconceived ideas of who may or may not be in the car.”
Both drivers told Autosport they would be interested in sharing the season.
“BMW are not short-sighted, they know that to come here and do a test day is not a true representation of your performance in a Formula E car,” said Blomqvist.
“Of course I would love to do the whole season, that would be amazing. “Whether or not they share it, if we do races that don’t clash, however it works out, we have to see.
“If I was to come in later, you’re going to feel like you’re on the backfoot because you’ve missed races.
“It’s more difficult as a driver, but if you do a good job it’s an extra opportunity in a way.”
“We’re doing all the work so if it’s me, if it’s Tom, we have some experience of what we need to know,” Sims said.
“If you’re offered any races, you’d take it.
“I’ve got a contract for next year, but whether there’s FE as well or not… I’d love to do it, but I’m not desperate [for a decision].
“It’ll sort itself out.”