Abt Sportsline has been a part of the FIA Formula E championship since the beginning. Way back in 2014 the team won the inaugural race with Lucas di Grassi and support from Audi Sport. For the 2016-17 season, the team won the driver’s championship with di Grassi, and the following season, and won its first teams championship. In total it has won twelve Es Prix across seven seasons of participating in the sport. Abt, sadly, departed the sport at the close of season seven last year when Audi pulled out of the championship. On Thursday, the team announced it would be returning to the series after a year hiatus, taking the place of the departing Mercedes EQ team.
Abt’s return to the sport may actually see the grid swell to 12 teams, up from 11 this year, despite Mercedes’ departure. According to Motorsport.com, the Mercedes team and charter are set to be purchased outright, likely by McLaren. Could you imagine a Formula One grid with a whopping twelve teams on it? 24 cars heading out for qualifying next year is going to be an impressive sight, and Formula E just keeps killing it!
Hans-Juergen Abt, team boss: “Formula E has always had a big place in our hearts and we have never made a secret of the fact that we want to be back. After the internal kick-off, we are now talking to our current and potential partners. The goal is to bring a strong team to the championship, both on and off track.”
Abt has not yet announced which of the seven manufacturers it will contract with as a powertrain supplier, but I’d put a solid bet on Porsche. The team has also not yet announced its driver lineup, but says it needs quick and clever drivers as it will likely be underdogs without factory support. Perhaps the team can court Lucas di Grassi to return to the team after one season with ROKiT Venturi Racing.