Welcome to Miami: ABT on Formula E grid in Florida

The days of the long breaks are over. Round five in Miami (USA) marks the beginning of the ‘hot stage’ of the FIA Formula E Championship season on Saturday (14 March). Seven races are yet to be held by the end of June and then the first champion of the series for fully electric single-seater racing cars will have been determined. One of the favourites: the Brazilian Lucas di Grassi from Team ABT Sportsline, who will be competing in Florida as the leader of the standings.

The circuit surrounds the stadium of the Miami Heat, the pit lane is located directly on Biscayne Bay and the famous Ocean Drive in Miami Beach is just 15 minutes away – could there be a more fascinating setting for a car race? A double premiere: the visit to Florida marks the first-ever race in North America for Formula E and ABT Sportsline. Sightseeing, however, is only of marginal interest to the squad headed up by Hans-Jürgen Abt, as the only German team in the field is aiming to return to the fast track.

Three races, three trophies – ABT Sportsline had made an awesome start to the new era of motorsport. Lucas di Grassi continues to lead the drivers’ standings although he was forced to retire in the round in Argentina with a technical defect. Just like his team-mate Daniel Abt the Brazilian has been preparing for the race in Miami in the simulator. The conclusion drawn by the duo: an interesting track with a very bumpy surface and several good overtaking opportunities. This promises a thrilling race day.

As always, the drivers in Formula E will be practising, qualifying and racing on Saturday within the space of a few hours. With a distance of 2.169 kilometres, the circuit in Florida is the shortest one on the calendar so far and has only eight corners in total. In the simulator Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi achieved lap times of a little less than 1m 06s in qualifying mode. The Miami ePrix starts at 16.00 local time and covers 39 laps.

Team director and drivers - that's what they say

Hans-Jürgen Abt: “The whole squad is tremendously looking forward to the race in Miami. A two-month break is simply cruel for racers like us. Fortunately, that’s over now. From now on we’ll be driving seven races in 15 weeks – that’s the way we like it. Following three consecutive podium places, the most recent race in Argentina that we scored no points in was painful. But it also motivated all of us to put in an even more concentrated and intense effort in order to be successful. We’ve set ourselves ambitious aims for the two races in the USA.”

Daniel Abt (D, 22, #66): “I’m a huge fan of the USA and for that reason alone the race in Miami will be an absolute highlight for me. Plus, it’s perfect timing for me to finally clinch a top racing result. Obviously, I’d like to take the podium position that had already been within reach for me in Buenos Aires in the next race. The circuit in Miami may look pretty easy at first glance but with several 90-degree turns it’s an exciting challenge.”

Lucas di Grassi (BR, 30, #11): “It’s great that we’re finally hitting the track again. There’s nothing worse for a racer than having to wait for revenge after suffering a frustrating retirement like the one in Buenos Aires. Miami is a fascinating city and perfect venue for Formula E. The circuit offers a few good overtaking opportunities and is located in a fantastic setting. It’ll be a highlight for fans, teams and drivers.”

Watch the preview video here: http://bit.ly/fe_preview_miami

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 of FanBoost. During the race that lasts about an hour there is one pit stop at which the car is changed. ABT is the only German team in the international field with 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, are entering teams of their own. More than ten drivers have experience in Formula One. Formula E races are not held on permanent race tracks but on city street circuits. After the inaugural event and the visits to Malaysia, Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) the series is now travelling to Miami and Long Beach (both USA), Monaco, Berlin (Germany), Moscow (Russia), as well as London (Great Britain). The points system is analogous to Formula One (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1) with additional points being awarded for the pole position (3) and the fastest race lap (2).

Beijing, Putrajaya, Punta del Este and Buenos Aires: flashback on the season to date

On winning the season opener in Beijing (China, 13 September) Lucas di Grassi and ABT Sportsline wrote a small chapter of motorsport history. The spectators at the first ePrix witnessed a gripping race that was only decided in the last corner. With a masterful strategic feat and two spectacular recoveries ABT Sportsline captured the lead of the teams’ standings in round two in Putrajaya (Malaysia, 22 November). Lucas di Grassi in second place defended the top spot in the drivers’ standings. Daniel Abt in tenth place scored another point. In the round held on the coast of Punta del Este (Uruguay, 13 December), a race with numerous overtaking manoeuvres, 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, trailing Sébastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet jr., scored valuable points for third place. Following three podium places in the first three races ABT Sportsline had to accept the first race out of the points in Buenos Aires (Argentina, 10 January). Lucas di Grassi, while leading the race, retired through no fault of his with a defect. Daniel Abt was heading for a podium finish when forced to park his car as well after a risky overtaking manoeuvre.

FanBoost: This is how the fans give their stars more power

It is a unique feature in international motorsport: In Formula E the fans can give their favourite drivers a power boost by an online fan poll. The three most successful drivers will receive a five-second 30 kW power boost – in each of the two cars. “The FanBoost can be an important advantage on the narrow city 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) 58 points
  2. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) 48 points
  3. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) 43 points
  4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) 42 points
  5. Nelson Piquet jr. (China Racing) 37 points
  6. António Félix da Costa (Amlin Aguri 29 points

Top 6 Teams

  1. e.dams-Renault 85 points
  2. Virgin Racing 74 points
  3. ABT Sportsline 62 points
  4. Andretti 41 points
  5. Dragon Racing 38 points
  6. China Racing 37 points

These are the partners of the team

ABT Head of Marketing Harry Unflath managed to gain a circle of renowned supporters for the Formula E commitment who are tackling the new motorsport adventure together with the team. The Schaeffler Group is the exclusive Technology Partner and featured with its logos on both cars. Deutsche Post (Daniel Abt) and DHL eCommerce (Lucas di Grassi) are present on both cars with various types of graphics. Telefunken and Würth Elektronik had made a commitment to ABT and Formula E at an early stage. VfL Wolfsburg, the German Football Champion of the 2008/2009 season, is featured on a stage in front of an international audience through the partnership. And, last but not least, Warsteiner not only puts its logo on the cars but, to everyone’s great pleasure, is bringing German beer to the international FIA Formula E paddock. Audi supports the ABT commitment by releasing its factory driver Lucas di Grassi. All team members are wearing Oris wrist watches.

The FIA Formula E Championship online and in social media

Websites: fiaformulae.com/abt, lucasdigrassi.com.br, danielabt.de
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 Miami (local time, CET –6 hours

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