Da Costa blasts FIA claims he created controversial end to Valencia E-Prix

Antonio Felix da Costa says Formula E will be “the joke of the week” and has blasted FIA claims he could have changed the outcome of the Valencia E-Prix.

Da Costa blasts FIA claims he created controversial end to Valencia E-Prix

The controversy boils down to a 15-second window at the restart following the final of five safety car periods, when erstwhile race leader da Costa crossed the line with enough time remaining to set up a two-lap sprint finish.

FIA director of Formula E Frederic Bertrand told media this was “clearly making life difficult” for other drivers when da Costa potentially had the “option” to slow to leave only a one-lap climax.

But teams have placed the blame with a 5kWh energy reduction made during the final safety car period and then having an insufficient number of laps remaining to recover the lost energy.

The teams have not placed any fault on da Costa, who then tumbled down the order on the final lap of the race as Nyck de Vries swept past to win.

Da Costa took to social media to absolutely refute the FIA’s justification for a controversial final lap in which three of the nine classified cars slowed to “pit-limiter” speeds to make the finish.

A further five drivers, including reigning FE champion da Costa, were disqualified for exceeding energy limits.

The Portuguese said: “I’m sorry, but I can’t accept this [from the FIA]. If I go even slower under [the safety car], how many teams would have protested me at the end?

“And also, if I go slower, they would have reduced more energy. Today it was only on the hands of the FIA to save all of us from this.”

Da Costa also told Autosport that Formula E will be “the joke of the week”, given an anticipated increased audience tuned in to see the championship debut on a permanent track at the Circiuit Ricardo Tormo.

The Safety Car Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

The Safety Car Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

He said: “As a motorsport fan, today was a big day for Formula E because it’s the first permanent circuit race that we do.

"I’m sure we attracted some new eyes, some not-convinced people to watch us and to give them a closer look. 

"That is not what Formula E is all about. It’s not the image we want to pass. We will be the joke of the week, I guess.

“It’s not a good day for us. I feel sorry for the fans.

“As a driver, this one hurts a lot. There’s not much we could have done.

“Theoretically, I’m excluded, I’m out of the race because I used too much energy by 0.1.

“In the end, the team and everyone is hurt. Everyone is down.

“It’s painful. You cannot believe it. The engineers are down there and sad.”

Asked to recall the moments when his race engineer conveyed the news he was not going to be able to convert his long-held lead into a first victory of his title defence, da Costa told Autosport: “I got a call for the energy reduction, but when they gave me the call I was like ‘are you sure?’

“It seems wrong that I’m not going to arrive.

“They said ‘Yeah’. That’s it.

“I’ve gone from being all good and I might win this race to I am not coming home tonight.”

shares
comments
FIA: Madcap Valencia ending shows 'how difficult' Formula E is to succeed

Previous article

FIA: Madcap Valencia ending shows 'how difficult' Formula E is to succeed

Next article

Buemi: Valencia E-Prix DNF "tough" to accept after difficult run

Buemi: Valencia E-Prix DNF "tough" to accept after difficult run
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Event Valencia ePrix
Drivers Antonio Felix da Costa
Teams Techeetah
Author Matt Kew
How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem Plus

How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with 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
The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention Plus

The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention

It's taken a long time for Jaguar to reach the cusp of contending for championships in Formula E. But, after last season's challenge crumbled in Berlin, the team has been bolstered by a top-line arrival who has helped to end an unwanted 30-year wait

Formula E
Apr 22, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

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 Plus

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 Plus

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
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

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 Plus

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