Audi announced on Monday that the 2021 Formula E season will be their last, as the German manufacturer switches its focus to other series.
Audi’s long term strategy has instead shifted to include an electric entry in the Dakar Rally in 2022, and a re-entry in the World Endurance Championship with a Le Mans Daytona hybrid prototype in 2023.
The decision comes after a review of the Volkswagon Audi Group’s motorsport programmes in the wake of Audi’s withdrawal from the DTM series, and after a disappointing season in Formula E, in which the team failed to win a race and finished sixth in the team’s standings; their lowest finishing position to date.
Audi has achieved many milestones during its time in Formula E: As the Abt sportline team they won the inaugural Formula E race in Beijing in 2014. They then went on to win the driver’s championship with Lucas Di Grassi in the 2016/17 season, before becoming the factory Audi team the following season and winning the team’s championship.
“From our point of view, we’ve got a lot of love and belief in what we’ve done here in Formula E,” Audi team principal Allan McNish told The Race in an interview.
“It’s allowed us the transformation of going from an internal combustion company to an electric company.
“We raced in season four before we even had the E-tron launched to the media on the market, so in that respect, it was preparation of the ground for the roadmap going into electrification, which is now there and we’ve got a clear roadmap in terms of the BEV (battery electric vehicle) cars coming through.
“We’re preparing for the next step of technology which is going to be part of where we are. We know the clear roadmap for Formula E, which is something that we were part of. However, for the roadmap of Audi AG and moving forward, then it was slightly more appropriate to be in other directions.”
The decision leaves a vacant slot for a new team on the grid for season eight, and comes on the same day that Mahindra Racing committed to staying in the championship for Formula E’s third generation car in season nine.
The future of Audi’s current drivers in Formula E, Di Grassi and Rene Rast, is now uncertain beyond the end of the season.