Formula E: ABT is ready for Formula E revenge in Moscow

Will a race without a points finish be followed by a comeback? In the first Formula E event in Russia’s capital Moscow on Saturday (6 June), Lucas di Grassi and his ABT team aim to resume the battle for the title. Most recently, the Brazilian had scored no points in his squad’s home round in Berlin because he was stripped of the triumph he had previously clinched.

Motorsport fans in Moscow can look forward to another breath-taking setting. The track leads directly past Red Square and the Kremlin through the heart of the Russian capital. In sporting terms the ninth in a total of eleven races will be thriller as well, as the top three drivers in the overall standings are ranked within merely ten points. In the role of the hunter: Lucas di Grassi from the German ABT Sportsline team.

With five podium positions in eight races – more than any other driver has taken in the field – the Brazilian has made his mark on the inaugural Formula E season so far. The most recent race in Berlin even seemed to have produced a preliminary decision in the battle for the title when Lucas di Grassi scored a commanding win in the German round. Hours following the triumph he lost his victory due to an armchair decision because, in the opinion of the stewards of the meeting, parts of his front wing did not conform to the regulations one hundred per cent.

“This case is closed for me, I’m fully concentrating on nothing else but next Saturday in Moscow,” says Lucas di Grassi. In Russia the South American is aiming to put himself in the best possible position for the final weekend in London that will feature two races. “I spent time in the simulator together with Daniel (Abt) and intensively prepared for the track. The circuit in Moscow is a challenging combination of fast sections and tight hairpins – both the drivers and the fans are going to have fun with it.”

Lucas di Grassi and his team-mate Daniel Abt are experiencing busy weeks at the moment. From the Formula E race in Berlin they travelled to the pre-test at Le Mans, now they’re going to Moscow and from there will directly be headed for the race week at Le Mans. While di Grassi as an Audi factory driver will again be battling for overall victory in the R18 e-tron quattro, Daniel Abt in the LMP1 of the privateer Rebellion team will be making his debut in the iconic event in France.

“As a race driver you can’t sit in a race car often and long enough – that’s not a burden but sheer joy,” says Daniel Abt. The 22-year-old youngster, with a pole position and a podium finish, showed his skills several times this Formula E season, but was equally often struck by misfortune. “Moscow is an impressive city and the next highlight on the calendar. I’d like to do my bit to ensure that Lucas and I will be making a leap forwards in the teams’ classification.” ABT is ranked in third place of the standings at the moment.

Clinching the first drivers’ title in Formula E history with Lucas di Grassi remains the declared goal of the ABT squad. “Lucas’ exclusion after our home round in Berlin was a hard blow – especially because Lucas was deprived of the reward for his fantastic performance by the decision of the stewards,” says Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt. “We’ve learnt a lesson from this incident and are now travelling to Moscow with even more meticulous preparation. The great encouragement by the fans – personally, in many e-mails and in all the social networks – gives all of us additional motivation. We’re returning stronger and are going to attack!”

In the drivers’ standings Lucas di Grassi is in third place, with a ten-point gap separating him from his fellow countryman and arch-rival Nelson Piquet Junior. Like in Formula One, victory is rewarded with 25 points. The race in Moscow will start at 16.00, local time (15.00 CEST).

This is the FIA Formula E Championship

Formula E is run with fully electric vehicles that reach speeds of up to 230 km/h, and accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in a little less than three seconds. Power output: in practice and qualifying 200 kW (270 hp), in the race 150 kW (202.5 hp) plus 30 kW FanBoost. During the near one-hour race there is one pit stop at which the car is changed. ABT is the only German team in the international field featuring outfits from the USA, India, China and Europe. The ex-Formula One stars Alain Prost and Jarno Trulli, as well as adventurer Richard Branson and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, enter teams of their own. More than ten drivers have Formula 1 experience. Formula E races are not held on permanent race tracks but on street circuits. After the inaugural event at Beijing (China) and visits to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Punta del Este (Uruguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Miami (USA), Long Beach (USA), Monaco and Berlin (Germany), the series now visits, Moscow (Russia) and London (Great Britain). The points system is the same as in Formula 1 (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1) with additional points awarded for the pole position (3) and the fastest race lap (2).

The season so far: from Beijing to Berlin

By winning the season opener in Beijing (China, 13 September), Lucas di Grassi and ABT Sportsline wrote a small piece of motorsport history. The spectators at the first ePrix enjoyed a thrilling race that was only decided at the last corner. With a strategic masterstroke and two spectacular recovery drives, ABT Sportsline took the lead of the teams’ standings in round two in Putrajaya (Malaysia, 22 November). Lucas di Grassi defended the top spot in the drivers’ standings with a second place. Daniel Abt scored another point after finishing tenth. At the round held on the coast of Punta del Este (Uruguay, 13 December), a race packed with overtaking maneuvers, several safety car periods and an action-packed final sprint, Lucas di Grassi was in the right place at the right time yet again and scored valuable points for third place behind Sébastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr. Following three podium finishes in the first three races, ABT Sportsline had to settle for a no-score in Buenos Aires (Argentina, 10 January) for the first time. Lucas di Grassi retired from with a defect when he was leading the race. Daniel Abt was heading for a podium finish when he was also forced to park his car after a risky overtaking maneuver. Daniel Abt celebrated the team’s return to the podium with third place when Formula E debuted in Miami (USA, 14 March). The German even led the race for many laps, but was forced to manage his battery in the dying laps and fight a futile rearguard action with inferior machinery. In Long Beach (USA, 4 April) it was the turn of Lucas di Grassi to celebrate on the podium again. His third place also saw him retake the overall lead. Before, Daniel Abt had grabbed the headlines with the first pole position for a German in Formula E. At the championship’s European premiere in Monaco (9 May), Lucas di Grassi increased his lead to four points with a second place. Daniel Abt went away empty-handed after crashing in the first corner. From the team’s perspective, the home round in Berlin (23 May) took a strange course. Lucas di Grassi initially clinched a commanding victory and was taken out of the classification due to irregularities on parts of the front wing a few hours following the finish. As a result, the home race became one without points.

FanBoost: how the fans boost their stars

It is a unique feature in international motorsport: fans use an online poll to give their favorite drivers in Formula E a power boost. The three most successful drivers receive a five-second 30 kW power boost – in both cars. “The FanBoost can be an important advantage on the narrow street circuits, and may even decide victory,” says Lucas di Grassi. Fans can vote up to the day of the race on:

Top 6 Drivers

  1. Nelson Piquet jr. (NEXTEV TCR) 103 points
  2. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) 101 points
  3. Lucas di Grassi (ABT Sportsline) 93 points
  4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) 78 points
  5. Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) 77 points
  6. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) 68 points

Top 6 Teams

  1. e.dams-Renault 179 points
  2. Dragon Racing 116 points
  3. ABT Sportsline 115 points
  4. NEXTEV TCR 107 points
  5. Virgin Racing 98 points
  6. Andretti 88 points

The team’s partners

ABT Head of Marketing Harry Unflath managed to attract a circle of renowned supporters for the Formula E program. They tackle the new motorsport adventure together with the team. The Schaeffler Group is the exclusive technology partner and advertises with its logos on both cars. Deutsche Post (Daniel Abt) and DHL eCommerce (Lucas di Grassi) are visible with different liveries on both cars. Telefunken and Würth Elektronik committed to Formula E and ABT at an early stage. VfL Wolfsburg, the German Bundesliga Champions in the 2008/2009 season, uses the partnership to increase international awareness of the club. Last but not least, Warsteiner not only puts its logo on the cars but also, to everyone’s great pleasure, brings along German beer to the international FIA Formula E paddock. Audi supports the ABT program by releasing its factory driver Lucas di Grassi. All team members wear Oris wristwatches and TITANflex brand sunglasses.

The FIA Formula E online and in social media

Twitter: @FIAformulaE, @abt_formula_e, @Daniel_Abt, @LucasdiGrassi
Facebook: fiaformulae, abtmotorsport, abtdaniel, lucasdigrassiofficial
Instagram: fiaformulae, abt_fe, abt_sportsline, daniel_abt, lucasdigrassi
YouTube: FIAFormulaE, ABTSportslineTV, AbtDaniel

The schedule in Berlin

08:15–09:00 Free practice 1
10:30–11:00 Free practice 2
12:00–12:55 Qualifying (4 groups)
13:50–14:30 Autograph session (eVillage)
14:40–14:55 Parade
15:50 FanBoost winner announcement
16:00 Race
17:10–17:25 Press conference (Media Center)