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Ad Diriyah FE win a 'historic' moment for BMW

Ad Diriyah FE win a 'historic' moment for BMW
By AutoSport

16/12/2018 at 12:46Updated 16/12/2018 at 13:21

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt labelled Antonio Felix da Costa's win in the inaugural ABB FIA Formula E Ad Diriyah E-Prix a "historic" moment for the marque.

Da Costa's win from pole position gave BMW Andretti victory in the manufacturer's first race as a full FE manufacturer.

BMW supported Andretti as a technical partner in the previous two seasons before becoming a works squad for the start of the 2018/19 championship, although Andretti still owns the entry.

"That feels really great, I mean historic for us," Marquardt told Autosport.

"[It was] a long time in the preparation - [from the] guys back in Munich, powertrain and integration from our motorsport side, together with the Andretti guys in testing.

"To bring that onto the race track here for the first time and have the first victory from pole straightaway - you definitely can't have it any better."

BMW topped all three days of pre-season testing at Valencia in October, but when asked if the team had expected to win immediately after that form, Marquardt said: "No.

"To finish off a testing period with a positive result - with the reliability that we saw, also with being competitive - is good.

"It gives you a bit of relief, but at the same time all the teams here have quite a bit more experience than us.

"[So] we were definitely taking the humble approach [in Ad Diriyah].

"Antonio did a fantastic lap in qualifying - circumstances were really tough [with] not a lot of track running- but it looks like our preparation back at home was pretty good."

Da Costa's win was his first in FE since he triumphed in the Buenos Aires E-Prix in season one for the Aguri squad.

After describing the victory as "great", he explained that this occasion felt different to his first triumph given FE's rise in status.

"The thing is, when I won in season one, the wins here weren't credited - let's put it like that," da Costa told Autosport.

"I had just lost my F1 seat [Daniil Kvyat was instead promoted to a 2015 Toro Rosso drive] and I was still a reserve driver for Red Bull.

"I could feel like nobody there really gave Formula E a lot of credit but it's impressive to see how much [has] changed, and to win now is definitely a different feeling."

Da Costa, a factory BMW driver, added the victory was a reward for joining Andretti at the start of the 2015/16 campaign and working with the squad over the last two seasons, in which it finished seventh then 10th in the teams' championship.

"When I joined Andretti this was the plan [winning]," he said.

"Joining season five with BMW, this was always the plan.

"To see it happening, to execute it - there was a lot of pressure, especially after Valencia.

"Everyone in Munich was just telling me, 'Alright mate, just win the race' - so it is great to actually do it."