Initially revealed as a goal in 2016 as part of the realignment of the motorsport strategy within the BMW Group, BMW will join the FIA Formula E Championship as an official manufacturer in Season 5 (2018/19). The cars, equipped with a completely newly-developed BMW drivetrain, will be run by the Andretti Formula E team as BMW’s works entry in the series.
Even though the entry is about a year away, BMW is already providing additional technical support to its partner, MS Amlin Andretti. Motorsport.com says that more BMW engineers will be embedded in the race team as well, although it will still be predominantly Andretti staff.
“It was a really disappointing season last year, we can’t hide that,” BMW-contracted Andretti driver Antonio Felix da Costa told Motorsport.com.
“We want to get out of that position. But we have to be realistic. It wasn’t an easy off-season if I’m honest, we had a few technical issues.
“There has been some big, big changes and massive help from BMW after that. I don’t know why that was made but I’m really glad that happened.
“Looking at what we have now, and all the effort coming from BMW, earlier than what I was expecting, is nice.”
Da Costa said the assistance the team is receiving from BMW now would have been a significant advantage had they been testing-mid season, but it was “better to have them in late than never”.
“We were nowhere near,” he said. “I now know what Renault might have and what Audi is doing. I can tell you we were miles behind these guys in terms of software, driver aids, approaches to situations.
“I only know that now by speaking with new people and going testing.”
He said: “One of our guys looked at our braking [during testing] and said it’s a mess – I said, ‘I tell you it’s already much, much better than what it was!’
“Making everything a lot more comfortable when you come to a city track just helps me as a driver massively – last year I felt like the fucking car wanted to put me in the wall.
“The delta to the quickest guys is probably the same but I believe we can get that reduced. It does take a lot of work, and a lot of software work, to make braking better, get more power, more efficiency, and make the car better for the driver.”