Formula E Malaysia review: Team Aguri positive

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In a topsy-turvy Putrajaya ePrix, Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa raced to sixth position, while team-mate Nathanaël Berthon finished 15th.

Felix da Costa earned Team Aguri’s first Super Pole appearance of the season in the morning, making the most of the chance to shine in the one-by-one qualifying format, landing fourth place on a track he was clearly enjoying. Berthon, with only limited time on track under his belt due to a disrupted free practice session, was still able to qualify further up the field than in Beijing.

The race start took place with temperatures over 30°C, and the 80% humidity showed no signs of abating. It began well for Felix da Costa, who moved straight into third and soon had a colossal battle on his hands, with Nico Prost right on his tail. Midway through the first stint, he was powerless to prevent Prost making the move for third.

Formula E Malaysia
Photo by: Dan Bathie

As chaos reigned among several leading cars around the pit stop phase, the Portuguese driver was in a strong second position when a fault stopped his car momentarily exiting turn two. Though he was able to continue, he had lost several positions and would resume racing much further down the field. Despite the issue, he was able to take eight points away from the race as he worked his way back up the order in the final third of the race, thanks to strong energy conservation and good fortune.
Like his team-mate, Berthon had a profitable race start from 15th, avoiding some first turn chaos to move into 12th position. Unfortunately for the French driver that was as high as he would run, with battery temperature issues forcing him to conserve energy more aggressively than planned. Consequently, he was unable to challenge those around him and brought the car home in the same position that he’d qualified.

The result leaves Team Aguri ninth in the Teams’ points, with Felix da Costa and Berthon 10th and 12th in the Drivers’ standings, respectively.

Antonio Felix da Costa
“It’s a very positive result for us. It was great to fight closely with Renault e.dams and the Abt cars. It was a good battle despite the fact that we don’t have the straight-line speed, even though we’re running less downforce. That makes every move a big risk, because you have to come from a long way back. With a few laps to go, my car had an issue and I had to power cycle the car twice in half a lap. All the chances I had to score a podium went away then; second was more than safe and I feel like I could even have challenged for the race win. To get into Super Pole was a really big bonus. We showed that we have the pace to fight for podiums, which is a good feeling going forward.”

Nathanaël Berthon
“I’m very disappointed. We did such a great job to take points away from Beijing with a lot of issues, but today we had more problems. I was doing everything I could to keep the temperatures down but the battery was critical despite my efforts. I also had handling issues, which is particularly frustrating because we struggled with that in Beijing. The great news is that the car clearly has strong pace and the season one powertrain is working well for us. If we get our heads down then the potential is definitely there but it’s certainly going to be a challenge!”

Mark Preston, Team Principal
“To be honest, I’m still trying to process that race! That’s why Formula E is such a fantastic championship for fans. It’s fantastic to take home more points and, if you had offered us sixth place at the start of the weekend, we would have been very happy. That said, it’s frustrating when a technical issue undoes a lot of hard work. Antonio once again showed that he’s a real racer; his race craft was tremendous. This was always going to be a difficult outing for Nathanaël, because he’s got less experience with the specialist energy management this series requires. The heat just made his day very difficult. We’ll all be back stronger in Punta del Este.”