Formula E

"Felt like I was letting the team down" - Antonio Felix da Costa explains mental pressure in Formula E

Tim Neuhaus

Tim Neuhaus

Formula E has been in a enforced break from racing for more than a month. Teams are unexpectedly given more development time and drivers can better prepare for the Sao Paulo E-Prix on 16 March. Antonio Felix da Costa in particular is trying to use the break for a mental reboot after his poor start to the season. On the official Formula E website, the Portuguese driver talks openly about his difficulties at Porsche and the impact on his psyche.

Anyone who has followed the tenth season of Formula E so far will have noticed that Antonio Felix da Costa has had a disastrous start to the season. So far, he has made too many mistakes, not enough pace and, above all, no points. With 14th place as his best result, he is clearly in the shadow of Porsche teammate Pascal Wehrlein, who already won the season opener. A pattern that was already apparent in season 9.

Felix da Costa impressed by Wehrlein

In season 6, Felix da Costa was still at the top of Formula E and won the title with DS Techeetah. The 32-year-old switched to the Porsche works team for the ninth season and drove a season of highs and lows. "I came to Porsche as a former champion and felt like I was letting the team down," he says self-critically. "They relied on me to be the one to deliver the results."

In fact, however, Wehrlein was the one who scored the points, then as now, and remained a title contender for a long time in 2023. As a former champion, Felix da Costa was not satisfied with this. However, he was just as surprised as he was impressed by Wehrlein, who is still without a title in Formula E: "To be honest, Pascal drove amazingly well. He did everything right." A situation that is mentally stressful for Felix da Costa.

Formula E drivers are not only physically challenged, but also mentally. "It's a world in which you can't show much weakness because otherwise you'll be eaten alive," says Felix da Costa. The Porsche driver sometimes puts on a mask to protect himself from critics: "You act as if you're the happiest person in the world, but in reality you're not."

Hope ahead of Sao Paulo lives on: "Everything can be solved"

As a racing driver, the Portuguese has a sports psychologist and works on his mental well-being. He attaches great importance to reflecting and also finding positives in his problems. "I was definitely not happy with the difference in performance between the two sides of the pits." But on the other hand, he also sees what is possible with his car.

Felix da Costa does not want to let anything get him down and is firmly convinced: "Everything can be solved." Last season, a weak start was followed by a series of successes in which he also claimed a victory in South Africa and significantly reduced Wehrlein's points advantage.

Felix da Costa will have his first chance to get back on track in just under two weeks' time on 16 March in Sao Paulo. He finished fourth on his debut at the Brazilian circuit in 2023 - a good omen for a possible run of success.

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