Antonio Felix da Costa: "I'm an adrenaline junkie"

Portugal native Antonio Felix da Costa has been racing since he was eight. Having quickly risen through the ranks of Formula Renault, GP3, and Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) and following a brief stint as a Formula One test driver, he has been competing in Formula E since its launch in 2014. On a short break from pre-season testing in Valencia, Antonio excitedly told us about Formula E’s contributions to electric vehicle technology ̶ and his goals for Season 5.

5 Laps with Antonio Felix da Costa

Like all race car drivers who started young, Antonio Felix da Costa is passionate about racing, “I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. This is all I’ve been doing since I was eight years old and I’m extremely lucky to wake up every day and call this my job.” His enthusiasm for the sport is contagious. But he also concedes that driving an electric race car requires slightly different skills. Though he considers himself to be an aggressive driver, as he has grown older  ̶  and particularly since joining Formula E  ̶  he has learned to add more cleverness to that aggressiveness. “In Formula E you really have to know when you can be aggressive and when you have to be smart because you have to think about energy management. So it’s a very different approach to racing compared to other auto racing series.”

Turning his attention to the upcoming season, Antonio tells us: “My biggest goal at the moment is to win in Formula E, and our team has been working really hard to get to the position where we can really challenge the other teams on the track.” And now that BMW i has joined forces with Andretti, he is looking forward to driving a more competitive Gen2 car powered by the German car giant’s engineering prowess – and electricity, of course. “The first time I drove the Gen2 car it was a really cool feeling, everything felt like it was nicely built together really well – very German, let’s say.” So we may just have to get used to seeing Antonio Felix da Costa stepping onto the podium more often this season!

Five laps with Antonio Felix da Costa:

Lap #1: The evolution of Formula E
Antonio Felix da Costa: It’s impressive to see the growth of Formula E, not only as a platform for racing, but also physically when you come into a paddock, a racetrack, and you see what’s going on here with all the manufacturers, all the drivers, the places that we’re racing at—how close to the city centres we are. It’s just unbelievable what’s been done here.  

Lap #2: The future of mobility
I think electric cars are the future of the world. And we, as Formula E, we’re helping the manufacturers to use this to help the development of their own electric road cars. So it’s a huge platform, not only for us racing drivers, but also for the manufacturers themselves to keep on developing and innovating on all the technology and making them more efficient, adding more range, building better electric cars.

I think electric cars are the future.

Lap #3: Electric street racing
It’s very different, but at the same time it keeps that racing DNA. Obviously, we race on full-electric race cars, which has never been done before. And we race right in the city centre, so every racetrack is in the middle of a city. And this not only attracts a lot of people to come and watch us. It’s much easier for them. But also for us, it’s a huge challenge to race between walls every time.

Lap #4:  Gen2 car
The Generation 2 car is a big step forward from the Generation 1 car. Not only does it look a lot more futuristic, a lot more aggressive, a lot more electric. It is also a big step forward in terms of power, efficiency, and range. And with BMW coming on board this year, they have the resources to build a really competitive race car.

Lap #5: A competitive field
It’s impressive to look up and down the pit lane and see the drivers we have here. We have DTM champions, ex-Formula 1 drivers, we have young guys like me coming up through the ranks, trying to make it to the top. It’s going to take the best of all of us if we want to win races, win championships. We have to be on our best and deliver.

Video production: Scott McNamara / Daniel Dearing

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