Formula E: ABT Sportsline hums through the streets of Monaco

Finally: Formula E arrives in Europe at the weekend. With Monaco playing host this coming Saturday (May 9), the crucial stage of the season begins for ABT Sportsline and the international competition. The Monaco resident Lucas di Grassi, who starts as championship leader in the principality, starts from the best position.

Asia, South and North America – European motorsport fans have only been able to look on from afar so far. This now changes: the race in Monaco signals the end of season dash for the flag, which takes the drivers stopover in Berlin, Moscow and London. Still five races to go before the first FIA Formula E Champion in history is crowned. Can Lucas di Grassi defend his extremely narrow championship lead on the Côte d’Azur?

The Brazilian certainly enjoys a small home advantage. “I’ve lived in Monaco for years and often ride my bicycle along many sections of the track,” says di Grassi. He has also contested a Formula 1 Grand Prix in his adopted country – incidentally, competing in the 2010 Grand Prix were seven drivers from the current Formula E field. The anticipation is great: “It’s great that Formula E finally comes to Europe. You can feel the enormous interest of the fans and media. The seventh round will be a milestone from the racing aspect: with a solid team performance we aim to establish the best possible position for the end of season dash.”

Best possible position? Daniel Abt is well-versed about this. The 22-year old youngster grabbed the headlines last time out at Long Beach after taking the first pole position for a German, before dropping way down the running order after being handed a drive through penalty for no fault of his own. “After finishing third in Miami before, it could have been another top result. But this is now history,” says Abt. “I have good memories of Monaco, I was on the podium here in GP3. A successful result would also be the perfect gig for Berlin.” Only two weeks after Monaco follows Daniel Abt’s and his team’s home race in the German capital.

The circuit in Monaco is only 1.760 kilometers long and the shortest track on the calendar so far. It runs along the Formula 1 start-finish straight, before turning right and heading directly to the harbor. After a hairpin bend, it returns to familiar sections including Tabac and the Swimming Pool corner. The simulator calculates a fast qualifying lap to be around 48 seconds. The race lasts for 47 laps.

“Monaco has a very special place in motorsport. Fantastic that we will be a part of this tradition now with Formula E – a highlight for the entire team,” says Team Boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. Preparation for the event was meticulous: during a stopover at the ABT headquarters in Donington, the four cars used by Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi went under the microscope once again. “It’s incredibly close in Formula E, just a small defect can decide a race,” says Abt. “Which is why we don’t aim to give 100 per cent in the dash for the flag, but in fact 110.” While ABT currently lurks in second place in the teams’ classification, Lucas di Grassi leads the drivers’ standings thanks to a win and three other podium finishes.

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) and Long Beach (USA), the series now visits Monaco, 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 Peking to Long Beach

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 the first pole position for a German in Formula E.

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. Lucas di Grassi (ABT Sportsline) 75 points
  2. Nelson Piquet Jr. (China Racing) 74 points
  3. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) 69 points
  4. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) 55 points
  5. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) 52 points
  6. António Félix da Costa (Amlin Aguri) 43 points

Top 6 Teams

  1. e.dams-Renault 124 points
  2. ABT Sportsline 97 points
  3. Virgin Racing 82 points
  4. Andretti 80 points
  5. China Racing 74 points
  6. Dragon Racing 66 points

These are the partners of the team

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 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

The FIA Formula E Championship online and in social media

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

The schedule in Monaco

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)