Alexander Sims will make his Formula E Championship debut alongside António Félix da Costa in the upcoming 2018-19 season, driving for the factory BMW team run by Andretti Autosport.
The German carmaker joined forces with the Andretti Formula E team to form a full factory effort ahead of the upcoming season, having entered into a technical agreement in 2017-18.
Roger Griffiths will continue as Team Principal after the outfit’s transition from Andretti to a BMW works outfit. The team recently unveiled its new-look Gen2 iFE.18 at the BMW Welt exhibition center in Münich.
Da Costa retains his place in the outfit, with whom he has raced since the 2016-17 season. The Portuguese driver will enters his fifth season in the all-electric championship, having spent two seasons apiece with the Aguri and Andretti operations since his debut.
He claimed an unexpected victory in just his third Formula E outing at the Buenos Aires ePrix in 2015 but has failed to hit the same heights since. His part two seaons with Andretti have been particularly disappointing, with the largely unreliable and off-the-pace car propelling him to just five points’ finishes.
“It’s amazing, it’s a really important day for me,” said da Costa. “I’ve been in Formula E since day one, the first time the teams got their cars and we went for a shakedown in the rain at Donington.
“To see this [new car] come alive today – this has always been the plan. I’ve worked really hard to be here today, as a BMW factory driver.
“I think we’ve got a really good package, the combination between BMW and Andretti – we’ve been working really well the last two years, building up to this moment.”
Thirty-year-old Sims, who hails from London, has served on the team’s development program while also racing GT-spec BMWs in the US-based WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, finishing runner-up in 2017.
“I couldn’t ask for a better teammate in António,” Sims added. “We’ve know each other for quite a few years now and had the pleasure of working together in BMW racecars before, so to continue that relationship is going to be good fun.
“[For my] expectations of the year ahead, honestly, as a rookie going into such a difficult and high-level race series I’m optimistic obviously but honestly I understand the challenges ahead.
“I’ve got very little experience compared to some of the guys that have been in since day one and so there’s going to be a lot of learning ahead, but [I’m] thoroughly looking forward to it and trying to get on top of things in the difficult world of Formula E.”
Marking its return to open-wheel racing as a factory operation, BMW’s top brass are targeting strong results in the upcoming season but are ultimately taking a long-term view.
“The goals are pretty clear, we’re here, we’re racers, we want to be successful,” BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt said. “We want to get that beautiful car to the podium, maybe to a first win in the maiden season but at the same time we have to be humble.
“It’s a very tight and competitive championship – we are newcomers still, even if we have teamed up with a lot of experience. But it’s going to be an exciting year for all of us and we’re definitely looking forwards.”
|2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship – Provisional Entry List (to-date)|
|Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
||Lucas di Grassi||Daniel Abt|
|Envision Virgin Racing||Sam Bird||TBA|
|DS Techeetah||Jean-Éric Vergne||André Lotterer|
|Dragon Racing||José María López||TBA|
|Panasonic Jaguar Racing
||Mitch Evans||Nelson Piquet Jr.|
|NIO Formula E Team
|Venturi Formula E Team
||Felipe Massa||Edoardo Mortara|
|BMW i Andretti Motorsport
||António Félix da Costa||Alexander Sims|
Images via BMW AG