In the run up to the return of Formula E, Last-Lap is looking at every team and analysing their lineup, their livery and their chances in 2021.
Read the other teams previews here:
- Part 1: NIO
- Part 2: Penske Dragon
- Part 3: Venturi
- Part 4: Mahindra
- Part 5: Porsche
- Part 6: Jaguar
- Part 7: Audi
- Part 8: BMW-i Andretti
- Part 9: Envision Virgin
- Part 10: Mercedes
- Part 11: Nissan e.Dams
We’re nearly there now.
This team by team countdown has finally brought us to DS Techeetah. The reigning champions.
Antonio Felix Da Costa in his first year with the team brought home the silverware with two races still to run after he stormed the mid season and Berlin.
It was the Da Costa show with him taking three poles and three wins in a row. That is just unheard of in modern Formula E.
Not since the glory days of Renault e.Dams and Sebastien Buemi in 2016/17 have we seen so little seemingly standing in the way of a title (even if Buemi didn’t win that year).
Da Costa was on another level when it came to pace, energy management and attitude. He went into the lockdown break leading the championship and he has cited this has being a massive benefit.
Going into the first ever period of “time off” that he has had as a professional racing driver as the leader and latest winner convinced him he was the rightful champion and he convinced everyone else as soon as he sat in a car in Berlin.
Whilst rivals Mitch Evans and Alexander Sims flirted with the lower end of the points, Da Costa controlled the race perfectly, the exact right level of energy saving and pace to bring home maximum points.
He rattled his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne so much he overspent his energy and dropped out of the points at the end. It was masterful from Da Costa.
That’s how it stayed.
He was champion elect overnight and became champion after a display of teamwork that lifted DS Techeetah to another plain.
A 1-2 finish with Vergne leading it was enough for Da Costa to seal the championship and the third straight for a Techeetah driver after Vergne’s previous two.
They have to be favourites. Surely? They looked unstoppable.
At risk of going on about him, but Antonio Felix Da Costa is the man in Formula E right now.
Intelligent, fast, aggressive and all with a smile from the bundle of joy that he is.
Anything but a championship this year would be not enough from Da Costa because he has proved he can walk it.
It won’t be easy to get to the same heights as before, especially with such a bonkers season as this one is already shaping out to be with no full calendar anywhere near appearing presumably for another few months.
Da Costa needs to stay in the mindset he perfected last year to stay at one with the DS car and launch himself into orbit.
Da Costa said ahead of the season: “To have won my first Formula E title has given me so much more fire to win another one. JEV and I, and all the other Formula E drivers who do give us a good run for our money, are going to have some epic battles this season, that’s for sure and I can’t wait.
“We are going for that first World Championship title and we’ll do everything in our power to get there. I’ve always said that cars that look quick, are quick – and just look at the livery for this year. You wouldn’t want to see that in your wing mirrors! I really can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve been working on. We’ll be going for it!”
The other side of the garage to Da Costa lies the enigma that is Jean-Eric Vergne.
Two time champion and insanely fast, JEV has been with the Techeetah team since it began and even owns a stake (as well as the best cat ever called Cheetah).
JEV is a driver who did look unstoppable during his two championship campaigns, in both of them achieving a run of form that seemed unreachable for any rival.
But JEV has always been an emotional soul. He can let the stress and the competition get the better of him. This is not a bad thing because it can fire him up and make him one of the quickest out there but when Da Costa is on the other side of the garage, it is even harder to get into that sweet spot.
He got there when he was resigned to Da Costa’s success in Berlin but earlier on he was not happy at a championship that was lost in his eyes by mechanical mishaps.
JEV is looking for a third title and the issue is, anything but for him would also be a failure. Both drivers are winners and both deserve to win. It is going to be a fierce fight at DS Techeetah this year, that is for sure.
“Since I joined DS TECHEETAH four years ago,” said JEV, “I’ve seen first-hand how this the team always continues to improve itself.
“Our Season Six results proved our competitiveness, and I am extremely excited to show what we’ve got in store for Season Seven. We always aim to keep improving and re-inventing ourselves, our approach and most importantly our long-term vision. The team did an incredible job and I look forward to testing again in Valencia ahead of the season opener.”
As always DS Techeetah have provided a stunner.
Paint a car gold and the only thing it’s allowed to do is win, and win it probably will!
How will Season 7 go?
If you can’t tell from the rest of this report, DS Techeetah are top cats and for this to change is very unlikely.
Yes the series is closer than ever. And yes the field is richer in talent across every team.
But this team is just magnificent. They really understand everything about winning.
Absolutely all of it. From the way to manage the car, the way to race the car and the same with both drivers and every mechanic.
The only hurdle is the homologation rules meaning that there is only one car development allowed for the next two seasons. Some teams are going for it straight away but DS Techeetah and some others are not bringing theirs until Rome in April.
This would have been a bigger issue if Santiago had not been cancelled however and now that there are only two races before hand in Diriyah, as opposed to the scheduled four, this will negate much performance lost in the first few events.
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, Ex DS Performance Director, who has since joined the FIA as Technical Director, said before testing: “As a result of the health crisis, Formula E amended its regulations and instead of homologating a new car ahead of the season start, we’ve been given the opportunity to extend the homologation until the end of the 2021 World Championship.
“We’ve chosen to take a new approach given this opportunity and we have developed two cars simultaneously. Given the tremendous results from Season Six and the DS E-TENSE FE20, we will start Season Seven with an upgraded version of the championship winning car and introduce the DS E-TENSE FE21 at the Rome E-Prix. Season Seven is a new challenge for us but our objectives remain the same – fighting for victories and titles.”
Pinon has been replaced by Thomas Chevaucher who has been with DS in Formula E since 2015.
The team know what they are doing and know how to win. Any bet on DS Techeetah is a smart one.
They are ones to watch in Diriyah.
Formula E returns on Friday 26th February with the first race of the season under the lights in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The race is at 5pm GMT.