Antonio Felix da Costa says he is “guaranteed” to return to Formula E next season, and will favor the electric series in the event of date clashes with his new FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 drive.
While da Costa has not been officially confirmed with a team for the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, it’s understood that he is set to switch from BMW i Andretti Motorsport to DS Techeetah.
Last week, the Portuguese driver – who raced for BMW Team MTEK in the WEC’s GTE-Pro ranks last season, was confirmed at LMP2 squad Jota for the 2019-20 campaign, opening two potential date clashes.
These concern the 8 Hours of Bahrain in December, which currently conflicts with a TBC Formula E round, and the 1000 Miles of Sebring which clashes with an E-Prix in China.
“I think at this point, Formula E has priority,” da Costa told Sportscar365.
“The thing is, I made everyone [at Jota] aware of what was happening, and they still decided to commit, so that was perfect for me.
“Everything is clear for everyone, so that’s why I’m saying I will most likely skip [WEC]. I will be in Formula E. That’s guaranteed. I’m very happy to be combining those projects.
“Sebring is clashing, so that one I am skipping most likely. All the others I can get to, so that’s perfect. [China Formula E] would [take priority], but that race is still TBC, so I’m not sure.”
Da Costa described his recent confirmation with Jota in WEC as “perfect” since it has enabled him to keep balancing single-seater and sports car racing programs.
“I think it’s important for a racing driver to drive different cars throughout a year, and not to just focus on one particular car,” he said.
“I’ve been doing that since 2014 when I joined DTM with BMW. Back then, I was doing DTM, Formula E and Formula 1 as a reserve driver. I was doing a lot of stuff.
“Since then, I’ve never only raced once car. [Combining roles] is something I really enjoy, so I want to keep doing it.
“It was perfect that this came out in the last couple of weeks and we were able to finalize everything. I’m really happy that we made it work.”
Full-Time WEC Return Always the Aim
Da Costa suggested that it would have been a waste for him not to continue in the WEC after BMW ended its factory GT involvement at the end of last season.
“I’ve been working on it for a while and I’ve been making sure that the LMP teams are aware that I was interested in doing this,” he said.
“BMW has been preparing me to become an endurance driver since 2016 when I was still in DTM, but I knew I was going to go into WEC. I’ve been working hard to improve myself as an endurance driver in the last two or three years.
“Unfortunately, the BMW program only lasted a short amount of time. I did not want to stop racing something that I have been making myself good at.
“When I knew that the BMW WEC program was coming to an end, I was trying to move around in the paddock at bit, mostly to LMP teams, making them aware I was interested.”
Da Costa used his connections at Jota, with which he contested the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, to secure a full-time drive in the championship.
However, an opening only occurred when Pastor Maldonado, who was originally set to drive for the British team, vacated his seat in the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson shortly before the season-opener taking place at Silverstone this weekend.
“I had a few contacts there [at Jota] and there’s Trevor Carlin who also runs an LMP2 team in ELMS,” said da Costa, who won the Macau Grand Prix with Carlin in 2016.
“I was speaking to a few people here and there, so it was just perfect when I got a call from Roberto to come and join this project.
“Everything happened last minute, but I got to know Roberto [Gonzalez] a little bit last year, and Anthony [Davidson] as well. It’s a project that has every ingredient to be successful.”