Daniel Abt, driver of Audi Motorsport ABT Schaeffler (the longest team name of Formula E) with his teammate Lucas Di Grassi brought the Team title after three seasons dominated by the rivals of Renault e.Dams.
Two races won and the most relevant in Berlin, the Germany capital city, by a German driver of a German team: the perfect combination.
Daniel, you’re now going into Season 5 with the new car, the GEN2. As an experienced driver, what are your feelings?
GEN2 is a quantum leap, everything has changed and at the end of the day we are starting almost from scratch, although the experience gained in the previous 4 seasons is helping us working together with the engineers in the right way. I can say that the car is wonderful not only from the aesthetical point of view but also under the skin with the new engines, brakes, aerodynamics and, needless to say, how the car moves on the track. We have a lot to learn and we have to work hard to get the best results.
According to the Valencia pre-season tests some of your colleagues are debating about aerodynamic as there’s not a real rear wing, how can this affect your driving style?
In my opinion I don’t see any special issue but, but again, we are talking about a brand new car and we should get used to the differences with the GEN1. However, the additional battery weight helps a bit adding some down-force but at the very end it’s the driver who’ll be in control.
With the brake-by-wire you will have more to do during the race, setting up the balance depending on the track, will this have impacts on your racing style?
It’s something really new in Formula E but we know the system as it used on other series. Brake-by-wire gives us a lot of advantages but requires a very accurate setup and that’s why we work in close connection with our engineers who must provide all data needed to balance the car and the braking power between front and rear, especially when entering in a turn or when we try to overtake another car where braking at the right moment is crucial to be successful. It will be fun to see how all of us drivers will manage the braking systems and I hope we will avoid silly accident that can compromise an entire race.
The so called attack mode will change to some extents your strategies? One car, one battery, it can be tough to manage, who will be the winner? The most conservative or the most aggressive?
In Valencia we did a full race simulation lasting 45 minutes plus one lap and the Attack Mode revealed that in the end it could be an advantage or could be a kind of “leveller” that puts all cars in the same conditions. If we all use it at the same time, we’ll end up having the same power, and overtaking in a city track is not easy; therefore working on strategies is crucial to get some opportunities.
Audi Motorsport is one of the candidate teams for the title in the upcoming season, do you think is now your time to get the Crown?
It’s one of my dreams, so far I won a couple of races, the best was obviously the one in Berlin, where I, a German Driver, with a German car, won in the German capital city. To be on the podium top, was a super emotion!
Anyway, I have to deal with my teammate, Lucas Di Grassi who has won a Title in Season 3 and we have a bit of completion between us but we work together, he is a god friend and we work together with the Team to do our best. As you know, I had some bad moments and missed some good points, but we got the Team title anyway and Audi Sport broke the e.Dams supremacy. We will do even better in the upcoming seasons, we are fully committed to get the bests results.
Considering the new or reinforced entries in the teams as BMW, Nissan, Mercedes, Jaguar as well as NIO and Mahindra, how do you feel about the competition?
We will see on the tracks during the upcoming Season 5, we are confident on our potential and of course we look at the competitor but we will follow our plans with relevant developments, using the great deal of experience we have built so far in the past four seasons. As I said we are now, more or less, at the same level of the other teams. Our determination and enthusiasm will drive us to a successful season.
Last but not least, and just for fun, after a ballot promoted by ABB Formula E you have been nominated for the title of the “Best Driver Hair Cut” getting the #1, can you give us the address of your hair stylist?
Sorry, I can’t, It’s a personal secret. See you in Ad Diriyah!