This is good news for lots of motorsport fans: ABT Sportsline has officially applied to return to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in 2023 and enter two new-generation Gen3 cars as a customer team. ABT was already part of the Formula E family for the first seven years and is still the most successful team in the all-electric racing series, which made its debut in 2014, with 47 podium finishes and 1,380 points. After a one-year break, preparations for the comeback are now in full swing.
“Formula E has always had a big place in our hearts and we have never made a secret of the fact that we want to be back,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt. The managing partner had already taken a risk in 2014 and led ABT into Formula E as the first German team. Once again, the aim is now to put together a perfect package, together with Head of Sports Marketing Harry Unflath and CEO Thomas Biermaier. “After the internal kick-off, we are now talking to our current and potential partners. The goal is to bring a strong team to the championship, both on and off track.”
The first prerequisite for the comeback is a place on the grid. “We have always been in contact with Formula E and the FIA, had many discussions and have received great support from the whole team around Alejandro (Agag), Alberto (Longo), Jamie (Reigle) and Frédéric (Bertrand),” says Thomas Biermaier. The result: ABT has expressed its intention to take over the twelfth license for Season 9. ABT has also been able to win over one of the manufacturers registered with the FIA as a partner for the acquisition of the powertrains for the Gen3 era of Formula E and will announce this cooperation shortly.
Place on the grid, race cars – race drivers. “As far as our two drivers are concerned, we have very clear ideas,” says Thomas Biermaier. “We will probably start as underdogs, unlike last time as a factory team. That’s why it’s all the more important that we have quick and clever drivers in the cockpit, who fit in well with us. The first talks are exciting and very positive, so I’m sure we’ll have our team together soon.”
“I am delighted to welcome ABT back to where they belong in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship,” says Alberto Longo, Co-Founder and Chief Championship Officer, Formula E. “ABT is a proven success story in Formula E with record-setting points and podium finishes so their return after a season out to be part of the Gen3 era is positive for fans and the sport.”
Formula E CEO, Jamie Reigle, echoed the positive sentiment for ABT’s return and what it signals: “Formula E is the pinnacle of all-electric motorsport so it’s natural that teams and manufacturers leading the electric mobility revolution want to be part of the championship.”
Reigle continued: “In Season 9 we will introduce two game-changing developments designed to enhance the appeal of racing in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. First, we debut the Gen3 race car which will set the standard in performance, efficiency and sustainability. Second, we introduce new financial regulations to underpin competitive balance and financial sustainability for our teams. Together, they create an environment for competitive racing and long-term growth. We look forward to seeing ABT embrace these opportunities as they return to Formula E in Gen3.”
Frédéric Bertrand, Director Formula E & Innovative Sport Activities at the FIA, says: “I'm delighted that a team so closely associated with Formula E since the beginning has expressed its clear intention to return to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from next season and to feature on the first grid of the new Gen3 era. ABT has solid references in the series, and more broadly in motorsport as a whole, and its commitment underscores the appeal of both Formula E and the new Gen3 car launched in Monaco recently.”
ABT was a founding member of Formula E and competed in every race for the first seven years. Its greatest successes include winning the first race in Formula E history on 13 September 2014 in Beijing, Lucas di Grassi’s drivers’ championship title in 2017 and winning the teams’ title a year later. Still as a private team from 2014 to 2017, the team from Kempten took over the operation of the race cars for Audi from 2017 to 2021.