It’s Sunday evening on December 3rd 2017 – Daniel Abt and his team is cheering. The race driver from Kempten made himself a very special present on his 25th birthday: the well-deserved victory at the second race of the season start of Formula E in Hong Kong. But the good mood doesn’t last that long: Abt got disqualified by the officials because of a formal error. The reason behind was the wrongly registered part numbers inside the vehicle log book. Because of that, Daniel Abt loses his first Formula E victory since Audi joined as a manufacturer. But what is still kept in mind is his excellent driving performance since the error had no demonstrable impact on the performance of the Audi e-tron FE04 with the starting number 66.
That was a tough day: best time during the first training for Lucas di Grassi and after the second training section, Daniel Abt and his colleague are right on top of the field. Subsequently, the defending champion fights from the “super pole” about a starting position among the fastest five drivers. The strong performance at the third season of Formula E clearly shows the potential of the two vehicles and their pilots. But suddenly everything changes: Daniel Abt finishes the race after a drive-through penalty and an unfavorable yellow-phase as the 10th driver. But the defending champion was hit even harder: di Grassi has to head to the box because of battery damage at round seven already and sadly had to end the race.
The fair to middling start into the Formula E season continues in Santiago de Chile. At the start of the Southern America tour of the electric racing series, Lucas di Grassi fought his way from the starting position number 13 to the sixth position. But the vehicle exchange was followed by a big disillusionment: the race driver from Brazil had to park his vehicle at the box due to technical problems. His colleague Daniel Abt also had to finish the race early. Shortly after the start, he was hit by Nick Heidfeld at the rear wheel and early had to exchange his vehicle because of a defective rear suspension. But the energy of his second Audi e-tron FE04 just didn’t last long enough to make it to the finish line. The race driver from Kempten had to give up.
Finally! At the fifth race in Mexico City, the streak of bad luck finally was over. The technology didn’t cause any problems, the pit stop perfectly worked. And Daniel Abt shone on the racetrack. His performance was followed by a superior victory. The Kemptener started at the race from position number five. Right after the start, he managed to move one position ahead and reached the second position until the end of the first halftime. After switching to the second vehicle, the 25 year old took the lead and defended the pole position brilliantly until he reached the finish line. After 47 rounds the German driver did not only reach his first personal victory with a lead of 6.398 seconds, but also became the first German ever to win a Formula E race. His triumph wass furthermore completed by the performance of Lucas di Grassi: the defending champion started the race from the last position but managed to finish the race as the eighth driver.
Lucas di Grassi the champion returned to the podium in Uruguay and he will be keeping a spot on the podium for the following seven races. That’s a new Formula E record. At the beach of Punta del Este the defending champion had a challenging duel with Jean-Èric vergne and managed to finish the race on the second position. Daniel Abt wass fighting for a podium positon as well until his belt suddenly unbuckled itself. After an additional pit stop, he could only reach position fourteen.
Formula E headed to Europe: the main actors at the first Formula E performance in Europe clearly were Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt, who both were able to shine in a race to catch up after a fair to middling qualifying. Die Grassi fought himself from the starting positon number six to the second place. Abt started on positon nine and coame in as the fourth driver. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler managed to work its way up to the fourth rank of the team classification.
The third time as the second winner: Lucas di Grass continued his success story in Paris. His team colleague Daniel Abt had a lot to do on the racetrack all around the Les Invalids. The German overtook seven cars and managed to save some important points while finishing the race as the seventh driver. Even though the races to catch up were really spectacular, the qualifying remained a weak point.
Home game time! The former airport of Tempelhof in Berlin wass the venue of the German race which, embedded in the DFB-cup finale, became a real hit in television. Almost 1.5 million viewers watched the most successful racing day of any team in the almost four year lasting Formula E history: Daniel Abt got the pole position, reached the finish line before his colleague Lucas di Grassi, managed to make the fastest racing round and additionally lead through the whole race. 47 out of 47 possible points – something no other team has ever succeeded.
One thing was clear before the series’ debut in Zurich: if the team wanted to have a realistic chance to win the championship, they had to score properly during the race in Zurich – said and done: Lucas di Grassi reached his first seasonal victory at the first international car race in Zurich since 1954 in front of far more than 100 000 viewers. Daniel Abt was not that lucky: his opponent Nelson Piquet hit his rear right after the start. After the necessary exchange of the rear wing, he couldn’t score any more. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler managed to catch up eleven points in Zurich. It’s a residue of 33 points before they head to the final race in New York.
Showdown in front of the skyline of Manhattan: Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler had to catch up 33 points during the last two races in New York. Should be possible they say. Optimism was strong within the team. “We strongly worked for this chance on the track and back home in Neuburg – now we surely want to use it”, Allan McNish says. They managed to do so with a double win – Lucas di Grassi won before Daniel Abt, who additionally managed to drive the fastest round. Thanks to that, the team managed to shorten their residue onto five points. The Sunday race, won by Jean-Èric Vergne, was a real thriller: all four pilots of the competing team Techeetah and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler started from the top five positions. The fight for the title was very open until the last seconds. In the end, di Grassi and ABT reached the positons two and three and managed to bring the team championship to Germany for the first time in the history of Formula E by that.