Superb Da Costa wins first ABB Formula E drivers’ title as DS TECHEETAH win another team crown

Antonio Felix da Costa won his first ABB Formula E drivers’ title after a marvellous team performance from the DS TECHEETAH team saw defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne lead home his teammate in the second race of the weekend.

After moving from the BMW iAndretti team purely upon the advice of his good friend Vergne, Da Costa took to his new team like a duck to water, winning three races during a disrupted season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And, following back-to-back wins on the reverse circuit Berlin Tempelhof Circuit and a fourth-place finish on Saturday, the dominant Portuguese came home in second to seal his first championship victory.

“Oh my god!” said Da Costa after crossing the line. “I am lost for words, man. Oh my god! Thankyou. Thankyou everyone. Thankyou DS TECHEETAH for bringing me the best moment of my life. Thankyou. Thankyou. I have no words guys. Thankyou for giving me the chance.”

Although obviously disappointed at not defending his title, it was an understandably magnanimous Vergne who was happy to see his title passed on to his friend, and of course to see his team win yet another ABB Formula E team title.

“Thanks, thanks, the winner here is Antonio so huge congratulations for winning the championship,” said Vergne afterward. “He should enjoy the day, he has done a mega job. Congratulations to the team, we have won the championship, so that’s quite a nice day!”

It has been a quite remarkable season in a quite remarkable year in the premier electric motorsport series, with the conclusion of the series crammed into six races in the period of eight days. But the DS TECHEETAH team, partnered by Acronis, was quickly out of the bocks upon resumption and always seemed the class of the field, as it has been for the previous two seasons.

After the drama of the last three races around the Tempelhof Airport Circuit, it was a relatively serene outing on this Sunday, former champion Sebastien Buemi passing Nyck de Vries to stand on the podium with the DS TECHEETAH duo, Oliver Rowland fourth from another past champion, Lucas di Grassi, who made up six places. Jaguar’s Mitch Evans finished seventh after another fine drive from 11th on the grid, as Andre Lotterer, Alex Lynn and Felipe Massa rounded out the points scoring finishers.

But the plaudits of the day must go to the infectious Da Costa, who surely has much more to offer in this most intriguing of series and is already a favourite amongst motorsport fans worldwide.

“I have no words right now,” added Da Costa after stepping from his car. “Just the bad times really come to my mind, because so close to giving up sometimes and thanks to the people around me, I never did. But more than that, thanks to these guys I raced with in Season 1. Even when I was finishing P15, who knows where, and they had my back. So no words.

“Massive thanks to JEV, it’s a hard one to chew, but he pushed me all the way, he helped me out a lot and it’s also thanks to him that I was able to get this so quick straight away in this new team, so yeah. Just happy!

“We had a game plan and we executed it perfectly, you know, me and JEV, and we helped each other out. But the Nissan, Oliver and JEV, they were right there all the way, so for me it was super intense at the end ,when, you know, I had to cover JEV but at the same time had to cover myself, so JEV showed himself a few times and so did Oliver, but they were very fair today, as a champion like JEV is. So teamwork won the day.”

Victory for Vergne, Da Costa and the DS TECHEETAH team is the result of years of hard work and dedication to one of the most exciting of motorsport series, the team having been in the series as TECHEETAH since Season 3. Speaking before the start of the season, Da Costa told Motorsport Technology that his goal was to win the championship and that team partners Acronis were a vital part of the team effort in what is a close knit motorsport family.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.