Formula E

Felix da Costa scolds Rowland & FIA after missing out on Tokyo podium: "Know the risk of overtaking"

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Porsche showed strong pace at the first Tokyo E-Prix of Formula E, but missed out on the podium. Both Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa made risky overtaking manoeuvres and paid the price. After the race, the Portuguese driver in particular was furious to have lost a safe podium and berated the FIA.

On the final laps, Felix da Costa, who had been in third place until then, dared to attack Oliver Rowland and tried to get round the outside in a similar manner to Sam Bird in Sao Paulo. However, the Brit held off on the way to turn 15, even though he left the Portuguese driver enough space "to survive". At least that's how the race stewards saw it. Felix da Costa was nevertheless pushed to the outside and had to slow down to avoid ending up in the TecPro barrier.

This made it harder for him to exit the corner. Jake Dennis behind him recognised his chance, got alongside Felix da Costa and out-accelerated him. Instead of winning second place, the Porsche driver lost third place. With two laps to go, the podium position he thought he had secured was gone.

After the race, Felix da Costa was furious about Rowland's defensive behaviour: "If I don't brake, I'll drive into the wall there," he railed to Autosport. "I've been racing for many years and I know the risk of overtaking someone on the outside, but you can't just push someone into the wall."

"Because I avoided contact, he doesn't get a penalty"

"I just need to know from the FIA whether it's okay. Because if it is okay, then I will drive like that," says Felix da Costa and demands a penalty against Rowland: "The FIA always says that they don't penalise for the consequences (but for the actions themselves), but that's exactly what they do. I know that Oliver will get a penalty if I touch the wall at that moment."

"Because I avoided contact, he doesn't get a penalty. So I almost feel like I have to hit the wall for the FIA to penalise him, which really sucks," said Felix da Costa. "I don't think it was a clean move. To lose a podium so close to the finish is obviously disappointing."

Despite this, Felix da Costa can be satisfied with his performance and the points for fourth place. After a difficult start to the season, the season 6 champion is back on track. He also left team-mate Pascal Wehrlein behind him in Tokyo, who had to contend with similar difficulties.

Wehrlein: "Podium would have been possible today"

Due to a less than optimal use of attack mode, he initially fell behind his team-mate Dennis. Porsche then instructed its drivers to swap positions because Felix da Costa was behind Wehrlein in attack mode. After the Portuguese driver had also overtaken Dennis, Wehrlein was once again stuck behind Dennis.

On lap 18, he attempted to attack on the inside, but the reigning world champion closed the door. Contact was made, causing Wehrlein to damage his front wing and - like his team-mate later - make a bad exit from the corner. Both Norman Nato and Robin Frijns passed him. Wehrlein was suddenly only eighth!

"I had a few contacts and lost positions as a result. Otherwise, a podium would have been possible today," believes Wehrlein. "In the end, I was lucky that I was able to finish the race at all. I finished fifth. We had good pace and now I'm leading the championship."

After five rounds of the 2024 season, Wehrlein has actually taken the lead in the Formula E World Championship standings because Nick Cassidy only finished eighth after qualifying poorly. The German now has a two-point lead over the New Zealander. Felix da Costa is eleventh overall. Formula E continues in a fortnight' time in Misano.

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