Alexander Sims gave another impressive performance in Round 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, held on 26 January 2019 in Santiago, Chile. The Warwickshire-based driver crossed the finish line third, but a last-minute stewards’ decision meant a penalty put him back to seventh in the final results.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Sims started the race eighth after setting a fastest lap of 1:09.147 during qualifying around the South American city circuit; just 0.113 seconds off qualifying for the top-six Super Pole shootout.
Conditions in Santiago were very hot; the street circuit was extremely slippery, with the surface breaking up in some corners to create challenging yet exciting race conditions. As the race got underway, Sims improved a position early on to run seventh and continued to make excellent progress through the field in his #27 BMW iFE.18 race car, making an outstanding pass on Dragon’s Maximilian Günther along the way.
As he edged towards the front of the field, Sims locked into battle with Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara, who was running in third. As the duo went into the tight chicane in Turns 8/9/10, Mortara spun and fell down the order. Sims claimed the position and powered on to cross the finish line third. However, he was subsequently given a time penalty for the incident that relegated him to seventh in the final classification. Sims brought home six points, taking his tally to 18 and putting him tenth in the Drivers’ Standings.
“The team did an excellent job of helping me to manage the car during this very tough race,” says Sims. “On track, it was a good weekend. Qualifying was sensible and we started from a reasonable position. I think if I’d executed a cleaner lap, we had the pace to be in the Super Pole qualifying session.
“The race went well – we had the opportunity to fight for position and have some good battles. I think we made good use of Attack Mode, learning a lot in the process of how best to use it and how to be competitive when racing against others who have that advantage. The team did a brilliant job of managing the challenges we had with the battery in the hot ambient temperatures, and generally we did great to come through to third on track.”
Regarding the incident, Sims says: “Obviously the penalty was the overriding focus at the end of the race, which is shame because it came so late. We were very close, but I didn’t feel there was contact. However, I trust the investigation of the race stewards and accept the penalty. We still take a lot of positives from the race.”
It’s the second consecutive race where Sims has been in contention for a podium, illustrating the strength of the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Formula E package and Sims’ on-track prowess and ability to adapt quickly to new race series.
“It’s a shame to lose another podium under such circumstances but we accept it and move on,” Sims adds. “Generally, our race performance was good. To be three races into my first Formula E season and in a position where I should have had two podiums – and potentially even a win – is a good footing. I think we can pull together, build on this and try very hard in Mexico to bring home the good result that I feel we deserve.”
Sims next heads to Mexico City, Mexico, for Round 4 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, held on 16 February 2019.