Antonio Felix da Costa will partner Jean-Eric Vergne at DS Techeetah next season after being confirmed as Andre Lotterer’s replacement by the team on Tuesday.
E-racing365 revealed last month that da Costa would join the reigning champions to fill the seat after Lotterer chose to drive for the Porsche Formula E in July.
The Portuguese driver’s five-year association with BMW officially came to an end last week but the agreement for the pair to go their separate ways was agreed last month.
Da Costa will re-join his former FE team boss Mark Preston at the DS Techeetah squad, having Da Costa won the 2015 Buenos Aires EPrix for the original iteration of the DS Techeetah team which was then known as Amlin Aguri.
The multi-year deal will see da Costa link up with double champion Vergne in what will be viewed as one of the strongest driver pairings in the Formula E field.
Da Costa has told e-racing365 that the opportunity to join DS Techeetah had to be made quickly after Lotterer informed the team of his decision to leave.
“It was multiple things coming together, obviously having the opportunity to join a team that has won the last two years now in a row and using a powertrain of a factory like DS shows a good work ethic and a will to win, so for a few years they have been a team to beat,” he said.
“The chance came when Andre got the Porsche seat and things move quickly in Formula E so I only had a few days to make my mind up and I went with my gut.
“I have very good people around me who have supported me for the last few years like my brother, my family, Tiago [Monteiro] and all together we thought this was the right move.”
Da Costa will continue to sport his usual No. 13 race number with DS Techeetah.
Da Costa Joining Team He “Knows Well”
DS Techeetah started talking seriously to drivers in May when it became clear that Porsche had made Lotterer an offer to join Neel Jani for its first season in Formula E.
Da Costa, who was previously believed to have been close to refreshing his BMW deal, is understood to have become frustrated with the BMW i Andretti team as it fell away from title contention.
After winning the opening round of the 2018-19 campaign in Saudi Arabia, he then struggled to find consistent results and eventually finished sixth in the drivers’ standings.
Da Costa told e-racing365 last week that part of his decision to leave his factory deal with BMW was shaped by wanting more freedom in his career.
“I’m a loyal guy but if the right opportunity comes I like to get out of my comfort zone also,” said the 28-year-old.
“To be honest I am not going somewhere new because the only other team I raced for in Formula E was Aguri, which was then bought out by Techeetah or became Techeetah and some of the same people are still there, so I am going back to a place I know well.
DS Techeetah team principal Preston said, “It’s fantastic to have Antonio with the team. He’s a good friend to all of us and we’re all looking forward to welcoming him and to see him in the gold and black DS Techeetah colors.
“He will be a great, and fast, addition to the team and we’re all very excited to see what Jean-Eric and Antonio will deliver on track this coming year.”
DS Performance Director, Xavier Mestelan Pinon has described Da Costa’s signing as “crucial” for the outfit which will be aiming to retain its teams’ title this season.
“I am particularly proud to welcome Antonio in our team. His experience in this discipline and his speed will be crucial in our pursuit of victories and titles,” he said.
Da Costa will test for the team the week before the official promoters pre-season test at Valencia.
“While awaiting the first race in Riyad, he will be able to commence several test sessions together with Jean-Eric and help us to improve our DS E-TENSE FE20,” Mestelan Pinon confirmed.