Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast
António Félix da Costa joined the 100 Club last weekend and he celebrated it in style, securing his first podium of the year.
It’s a milestone that’s only previously been achieved by a small number of drivers. Da Costa now joins the ranks Lucas di Grassi, Sébastian Buemi, Jean-Eric Vergne and – most recently – Sam Bird.
DTM commitments in the early stages of his Formula E career mean that da Costa falls just shy of having competed in every Formula E race. But it’s a near thing — of 104 races, da Costa has competed in 100.
The Portuguese driver initially harboured some apprehension towards Formula E. “The thought of competing in a fully electric racing series seemed kind of crazy,” said da Costa. However, it didn’t take him long to get on board and realise the sport’s “bright future”. He said:
“I can honestly say today that joining Formula E was the best sporting decision of my life.”
Da Costa has been a constant in Formula E throughout its nine-season history and has affirmed himself as something of a fan favourite over the years. With seven wins, 17 podiums, and a championship under his belt, it’s fair to say he’s had a pretty good run in Formula E so far.
Looking back on a bright career
There since the series’ inception, da Costa made his debut at the Putrajaya E-Prix in 2014 — the second Formula E race to ever be held. Grappling with all-electric racing for the first time, the Portuguese driver asserted himself as a quick learner as his maiden win came only two races later.
His victory at the Buenos Aires E-Prix was the tale of an underdog triumphing. Starting in eighth, da Costa progressed through the pack to clinch a first-place finish for Amlin Aguri. The Japanese team had only scored one points-finish prior to this: a P8 finish for da Costa in his debut race.
Despite his early success in the series, the three seasons that followed were difficult for da Costa. He was plagued by bad luck throughout, with reliability issues robbing him of potential podiums and wins.
He remained resilient, though, and did not allow such difficulties to dissuade him from continuing in Formula E. It was a wise decision, as his three-year podium drought came to an end in the best of ways: victory. Da Costa secured the first win of the Gen2 era at the 2018 Diriyah E-Prix. That season, three more podium finishes followed.
His most successful season thus far has undoubtedly been 2019/20. The Portuguese driver joined reigning champions DS Techeeta, partnering defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne. A triple-race win streak in the middle of the season gave da Costa an edge over the other drivers that he held onto up until the final race. The driver’s championship belonged to him.
He then secured two more race wins with DS Techeeta: Monaco in 2021, and New York in 2022. At the end of last season, he announced his move to Porsche.
Looking forward: partnership with Porsche
The move to Porsche was, in da Costa’s words, “like a dream come true”.
“I’ve been beaten by a Porsche many times in my career, and not only in Formula E,” da Costa said, upon joining the team. “So I know that Porsche does everything to win. It’s in the brand’s DNA.”
The Portuguese driver has had a bit of a rocky start to the Gen3 era, though. But as with the other difficult seasons he’s had, he remains resilient. Reflecting on his start to the season, he wrote on Twitter:
“Losing, being sent down, the challenges we have to submit to and overcome, and when we win after these most difficult parts, the stories and the path we have traced, the victory becomes even more special. I’m a rock!”
However, the Hyderabad E-Prix last weekend may have marked the turning of the tide for the Porsche driver. A strong drive amidst a chaotic race saw da Costa climb up the rankings, leaping from 13th to 3rd to claim his first podium of the season. It was a result that handed Porsche the points they needed to assert themselves as the championship leaders.
The car is strong, the season is still young and – most importantly – da Costa is determined. We’re excited to see what he might do next.
Featured Image Credit: @PorscheFormulaE on Twitter