Team Aguri travel to Beijing this week to open the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship season with the 2015 Beijing ePrix on October 24. Antonio Felix da Costa and Nathanaël Berthon will drive the squad’s two all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars.
The team continues with the season one powertrain, and will be hoping to reap the benefits in the opening races of the year. Reliability, as well as the well-developed understanding of the machinery, could well be on the outfit’s side in Beijing as other entrants get to grips with different power solutions.
They are also continuing with Felix da Costa, who raced with them for much of the inaugural season. The Portuguese driver’s experience, combined with the great pace he has shown in every category he has raced, will be crucial to Team Aguri. French pilot Berthon made his Formula E debut in season two testing, but was immediately fast and will be looking to push his team-mate right from the start.
Just like 2014/15, the season opens in China’s capital city, Beijing. China is the world’s most populous country – 1.357 billion people, as of 2013. Last year, China produced 23.72 million cars, and many experts are pointing to the Asian giant to be the leading market for electric vehicles, making this an extremely important venue for Formula E. China’s rapid expansion saw them overtake the USA as the world’s largest economy late in 2014 – a fitting attribute, as paper money originated in the region 1400 years ago. The Chinese complete a new skyscraper every five days, and use 45 billion chopsticks every year.
Antonio Felix da Costa
“It’s really good to be back in Formula E again; there’s such a great swell of interest in the series. I’m really pleased to be back with Team Aguri, and I think that my experience in season one will really help me get the most out of our package. That’s going to be really important because we have to maximise what we have straight out of the blocks. The other teams have new and complicated technology, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they had some teething troubles, but we know that our package is reliable. FanBoost is awesome. It feels really great when you see your fans are right behind you, and it’s unique in Formula E that they can actually help you directly on track. I love that.”
“First of all, I have to thank Team Aguri for giving me their trust to race with them this season. I’m delighted to be going to China and I’m sure we’ll do a good job there. I know most of the other drivers have a year of experience in Formula E, but I will learn fast and my goal is to return home from the first race with as many points as possible for the team. Antonio will be a huge help for me, because he already has a lot of experience, and we’ll help each other to get the best out of the car. Though it’s been difficult to get the FanBoost because of the late announcement of the drive, I’m pleased to see so many fans have already got behind me – hopefully I can reward them with a great performance!”
Mark Preston, Team Principal
“We need to come out of the box very strongly. We’re using last year’s powertrain, but that has benefits – we know it’s reliable and it gives us decent continuity. We’ve got great continuity in the team too, and we’ve retained Antonio, so we should be able to hit the ground running. Adding Nathanaël is great – he’s a good talent, and I’m looking forward to seeing two young, gifted guys pushing each other and getting the best out of themselves and the team. Having a race in China is so important for this series – I believe China will drive the EV market in the future. Aside from that, it’s a country with some really great culture, a lot of history, and we’re racing in a really cool location near the Bird’s Nest. I can’t wait to get started.”