Da Costa blames “wrong information” for last-lap defeat

Antonio Felix da Costa says his DS Techeetah team gave him “either incomplete or wrong information” regarding his battery temperature, which he feels cost him a potential Formula E victory in Santiago.

In an action-packed race, Da Costa rose from 10th on the grid to lead on lap 37 of 40 after a robust overtake on his BMW Andretti replacement Maximilian Gunther, only to be repassed with just three corners to go. He eventually crossed the line more than two seconds adrift of first-time FE victor Gunther after reaching a critical battery temperature aboard his E-TENSE FE20 in the dying moments of a scorching race in Chilean capital.

In the post-race press conference, da Costa suggested that the battery temperature issue was a sudden surprise owing to misinformation over team radio.

“I think I was being fed either not the complete or slightly wrong information because I was being told I was good on temperatures, even though I was saying ‘I don't think I am’,” he said. “And yet, the moment I got the lead, they tell me, ‘OK, you have to slow down’. It all came down to the last lap, but these guys [BMW] just managed it better. 

Da Costa explained further his sudden slowing down to Motorsport.com, saying: “Energy [levels] were good. I could have gone like almost flat out in those last three corners... I was catching [Gunter], I could have carried on that pace, which was amazing.

“In the end, it all came down to [battery] temperature. I think the car kind of switches off completely at 72.6 [degrees] and with two corners to go it was 72.5. I said, ‘OK, no, it's not going to happen.’ 

“I had to basically just back off a lot and make sure I arrived. Obviously, it hurts when you have a sniff of the win like that, especially coming from the back.”

Read Also:

The O’Higgins Park race was only da Costa’s third with the DS Techeetah team, and he reckoned that had probably contributed to the miscommunication.

“It’s a new crew put together,” da Costa said. “I'm learning them, they're learning me and maybe I misunderstood or whatever. But yeah, so with one lap to react, it's way too late.”

DS Techeetah team principal Mark Preston explained the cause of the rise in battery temperature, telling Motorsport.com: “It's a balance of using different pedals and regen and things like that. So when [da Costa] was attacking people you sort of generate more energy in the battery. 

“It was just a normal thing. We had everything planned but things didn't quite go to the plan.”

When asked if the battery temperature rise had denied da Costa victory, Preston replied: “You could say probably, but we're still discussing what the actual chain of events were.

“We're going to have to go back and actually run it through on the simulator and look at actually what options we would have, could have and should have done in order to maintain it.”

Antonio Felix da Costa, DS Techeetah after the podium

Antonio Felix da Costa, DS Techeetah after the podium

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Massa opens up on teammate clash in Santiago

Previous article

Massa opens up on teammate clash in Santiago

Next article

Why Santiago E-Prix win vindicates Gunther

Why Santiago E-Prix win vindicates Gunther
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Event Santiago E-prix
Author Matt Kew
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem Prime

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair.

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Prime

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Prime

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet.

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Prime

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

Mercedes and Porsche compete to win and have done so across the board: in Formula 1, sportscars, the Dakar Rally and endurance road races - even working together to break land speed records. Next in the crosshairs is the Formula E teams' championship crown.

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021