Ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Formula E race in Zurich — the first circuit race in Switzerland for over 60 years — Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team principal Allan McNish confirmed that German driver Daniel Abt will remain with the team for Season 5. Joining reigning champion Lucas di Grassi, both drivers will take a seat in the Gen2 car in December 2018 as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship kicks off its fifth season in Saudi Arabia.
“For us it was very clear he was a driver for the long term, not just the short term, said McNish. “I’m very pleased he’ll be with us as well in Season 5. You’ll see Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt as our driver line-up in Season 5.”
After Abt’s decisive victory in his home race in Berlin a few weeks back, the German driver looked set to take a seat with the manufacturer next season. “For sure [the win in Berlin] helped a bit and it’s not bad for negotiating but I don’t think it was just down to one race — it’s a lot more,” said Abt.
Despite the win — his second classified win of the season, after his victory in Hong Kong was taken away after a technical disqualification — the Audi driver has performed well over the season scoring points in six of the 10 races this season.
“He’s got his seat on his merit and purely on his merit, by the job he has done through the course of this year,” said McNish. “I’m a big believer in giving people opportunities to show what they can do and he grabbed a hold of it in Berlin and it was a perfect example of what he can do with it. I expect to see a lot more of that,” he added.
Becoming a factory driver for the manufacturer this season, Abt, 25, was tasked with making an impression in the shadow of his teammate and reigning champion Lucas di Grassi. “In my head, I thought he’d win one race this year and that was one of my personal goals,” admitted McNish. “He’s actually won three on the road and he’s got two in his pocket. So he’s exceeded those goals in my view and I’m very pleased he’ll be fighting alongside Lucas in what I hope will be a title next year.”