Formula E: ABT Sportsline electrifies Berlin

Germany’s capital city transforms into the epicenter for elite motorsport: one week before the DFB Trophy (football cup final) and two weeks before the Champions League final, the city hosts the electric racing series Formula E this Saturday (23 May). The race in Tempelhof is the home event for the only German team ABT Sportsline fielding Daniel Abt and championship leader Lucas di Grassi.

After races in Asia, North and South America as well as Monaco, Formula E now finally arrives in Germany where the series and team ABT Sportsline have many fans. At the same time, the crucial stage of the championship begins on the former airport Tempelhof: only four more races before the first Formula E Champion in history is crowned.

Lucas di Grassi is still on course to immortalize his name in the motorsport history books. The Brazilian driving for ABT Sportsline comes to the capital with a four-point advantage over his archrival Nelson Piquet Jr. “I’m really looking forward to my team’s home race. Many partners, fans and friends will support us, which will give us an extra motivation boost,” says di Grassi, who has mounted the podium five times in the previous seven races. “It’s clear that things are heating up in the title battle, but my team and I will stay cool and try to take the maximum every time.”

The race in Berlin is one of the highlights of the season for Daniel Abt. In addition to Nick Heidfeld, the youngster is the only German and at 22 years of age the youngest driver in the international field. “I can really feel how the interest in Formula E continues to grow, and I look forward to being a part of this family,” says Abt. “Our team and I will of course get great attention – which is certainly not a burden, but in fact merely gives us greater momentum.” Daniel Abt has scored points five times this season, claimed pole position once and finished on the podium once. “And it is exactly here where I aim to stand again on Saturday!”

The DHL Berlin ePrix is held on the airport in Tempelhof. The tight and twisty circuit comprises 17 corners over a length of 2.469 kilometers. “Even so, the track is very fluid to drive and has many exciting sections,” says Abt, who prepared for the race day in the simulator as did team mate Lucas di Grassi. With its compact track layout, former hangars and the grandstands, the facility has almost stadium character. The simulated lap time in qualifying, where the drivers can drive with maximum power, is around 1m 24s. The cars reach top speeds of almost 200 km/h in the process.

“Formula E celebrated a magnificent European debut recently with the race in Monaco. I’m convinced that Berlin will be yet another highlight this season,” says Team Boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. He has clearly defined his sporting plans: “We want to score two-digit points with both of our drivers. In the title battle a strong team performance counts more than ever before.” While Lucas di Grassi leads the drivers’ championship, ABT Sportsline is second in the team classification behind the Renault factory team.

The race in Berlin starts on Saturday at 16:00. Tickets are available on the internet at berlin.fiaformulae.com.

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 and visits to Malaysia, Punta del Este (Uruguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Miami (USA), Long Beach (USA) and Monaco, the series now visits Berlin (Germany), 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 Monaco

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). Lucas di Grassi retired from the race lead with a defect. 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 a 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.

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: fanboost.fiaformulae.com

Top 6 Drivers

  1. Lucas di Grassi (ABT Sportsline) 93 points
  2. Nelson Piquet Jr. (NEXTEV TCR) 89 points
  3. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) 83 points
  4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) 77 points
  5. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) 64 points
  6. Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) 52 points


Top 6 Teams

  1. e.dams-Renault 160 points
  2. ABT Sportsline 115 points
  3. Virgin Racing 94 points
  4. NEXTEV TCR 93 points
  5. Andretti 82 points
  6. Dragon Racing 76 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

Websites: fiaformulae.com/abt, danielabt.de, lucasdigrassi.com.br
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)