Da Costa bemoans impact of FE qualifying format on title race
Antonio Felix da Costa believes the current qualifying format used in Formula E is having too much of an impact on race results and believes a driver currently on zero points could emerge as a title contender as a result.
After starting 1st and 3rd for the opening two races of this season, da Costa has since qualified in the top 10 only twice as Formula E’s qualifying rules state that the championship leaders set their times in group one when track conditions are often at their slowest.
Following his drive to ninth from 12th on the grid in Rome, the BMW Andretti driver believes the championship contenders have little chance to qualify well given the restrictions of the current format.
“We were P1 in our [qualifying] group so I did what I could do, but unfortunately, the groups just keep getting so much quicker. P12 was the best we could do,” said da Costa.
“I’ve been [quickest] in group one five out of seven races, so it shows we’re one the quickest guys but in the end, you can only do so much.
“You have to score these small amounts of points when you have to and win the races that you can win. Hopefully, it will be enough to come to [the season finale in] New York with a chance.”
The Portuguese adds that preparing for races this season has proved difficult and believes qualifying has had a greater impact on his results than the work his team do in advance on optimising car setup.
“If I was at home as a spectator I would love to see [unpredictable results] as well. You stay on the edge of your seat because every time a different guy wins, the championship lead keeps changing. It’s amazing,” said da Costa.
“But for us here, we go to the simulator, spend weeks and weeks there, and then you’re good in free practice, the quickest guy, but then you have to qualify in group one and you’re out of the top 10.”
Da Costa says he sees all 22 drivers on the grid as rivals currently and suggests that a surprise title contender could emerge from nowhere in the coming races.
“Everyone’s a rival, honestly. We’ve just barely started the second half [of the season] so there won’t be anyone with an edge,” said da Costa.
“Anyone who gets a break and wins or scores three podiums in a row, even if they have zero points now, they’ll be there. Everyone’s a rival.
“I’m really confident that the next tracks will be good for me. It’s just a matter of how slow group one is. I’ve been in superpole five times out of seven races, so let’s hope that’s the case again.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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