With twelve teams, 24 drivers and ten manufacturers in total – including the four German premium brands, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche – fans can expect to see what will arguably be the most thrilling season of all time. As a Formula E founding member, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is taking on its old and new rivals with a proven squad: Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi who are the only duo to have contested all of the Formula E races together in one team and are now entering their sixth season together. "This consistency and the collaboration within our well-gelled team are one of our great strengths in such a dynamic and lively championship as Formula E," says Team Principal Allan McNish.
In 2017, Audi was the first German automobile manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment and got off to a dream start of the company's all-electric motorsport era by winning the teams' classification and finishing runner up in the drivers' championship in its first year. Following a very close runner-up finish in the fifth season, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is now entering the season's 14 races as the challenger, and sets equally clear and ambitious goals: "Our team has been part of the Formula E family from the very first minute and shows an impressive track record. Now it’s great to see more and more brands following, because the competition both on and off the track is part of Audi’s DNA," says Allan McNish. "At the beginning of the new season, everyone is starting from scratch, but our goals are the same as always: we intend to battle for the titles in the drivers’ and teams’ championships at the final races in London."
The Formula E commitment is a perfect fit for Audi's "Roadmap E" for the road: By 2025, the brand is planning the market launch of more than 30 electrified models, most of them with all-electric drive. In 2018, the Audi e-tron marked the beginning, followed by the Sportback version and, in 2020, the e-tron GT as its spectacular sporting counterpart.
Daniel Abt is certain: "One thing is clear: this will be the hardest-fought season in Formula E history. I know that's what we say before each season – and so far it's always turned out to be true. We realize that the guys from Mercedes and Porsche aren't here just for fun – but neither are we. We've seen a lot in Formula E in recent years and are now going to give our all to finish at the very top again. Everyone in our team is looking forward to the challenges of the upcoming months."
The 2.494-kilometer track in Diriyah will again be the venue of the season opener. The suburb north-west of the capital city of Riyadh is regarded as one of Saudi Arabia's cultural centers and an origin of the kingdom. The fans will get to witness two full race days with free practice, qualifying and the race held within the space of a few hours on Friday and Saturday – one of the many unique features of Formula E. Last year, Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi began the season with an eighth and a ninth position.
The races in Diriyah on Friday and Saturday will start at 3 PM local time (1 PM CET) and, as usual, last for 45 minutes, plus one lap. As always, Eurosport will air live coverage. All of the international channels including the broadcast schedule can be found online at www.fiaformulae.com.