The season didn’t commence quite as well as expected for reigning championship team DS TECHEETAH, with Jean-Éric Vergne being forced to retire due to a mechanical failure and Antonio Felix Da Costa finishing outside the points in P14.

“It was never going to be an easy start as we began our race in qualifying group one on an extremely slipper track due to last year’s `championship position. Jean-Éric did well finishing first in his group, however, we didn’t expect to have an issue with Antonio’s car leaving him to start the race from the back. He did a stellar job today regardless in a new car and with a new team. Tomorrow is a new day and what this team is extremely good at, is pushing on both through its ups and downs,” said DS TECHEETAH Team Principal, Mark Preston.

"Jean-Éric has shown that our DS E-TENSE FE20 is very fast in qualifying and during the race, Antonio and Jean-Éric were very strong. Tomorrow is a new start, and we’ve got both drivers in more favourable qualifying groups. The problems that we have encountered today are behind us so everything should be in order to fight for the front positions," said DS Performance Director, Xavier Mestelan Pinon.

Antonio Felix Da Costa, P14 :

“This wasn’t the way I wanted my first race to be but that’s how it is and we’ve got another race to focus on tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of work to still as it is when you start with a new team and it would have been nice to have a better start, but it can only get better from here. Tomorrow is a new day, so it’s all good,” said Antonio Felix Da Costa.

“First day on the job with my new team wasn’t an easy start unfortunately. Today was looking promising as we were quite fast in free practice, but as we were going into qualifying we had an issue in which I lost my brake-by-wire so I didn’t have any brake assistant and therefore had to do my flying lap straight away and qualified in the back as a result. I was coming nicely forward in the race but didn’t make the points so I’m looking forward to a fresh day tomorrow with new opportunities, so it’s all good.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, DNF

“Our first day in Riyadh is over and it didn’t end how I wanted it to, sadly. I qualified Pole in my group which is nice but as the track was so dirty I started the race from P11 in the end. I made some nice progress from there but suffered a mechanical failure and had to retire the car as it wasn’t safe to drive anymore. It’s a shame but that’s racing, and we’ve got another day tomorrow. I’ll be in qualifying group four then and hopefully I can take Pole position from there.”