It was announced at the end of 2020 that season seven would be Audi’s last season in Formula E, Team Principal Allan McNish spoke about the manufacturers departure and how Audi are looking towards the other areas they can grow and evolve with electrification.
Having competed under Audi Sport ABT and then ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in the series first three seasons, the team eventually started racing with full Audi manufacturer support in season four, where they ultimately won the teams title. Season seven will be the first season the team has competed with their own powertrain.
“Schaffler has been a partner of Audi for a long period of time. They continue to be a partner, they continue to support us. However the MGU05 is a completely in house built system, so I think going forward it’s positive for us but clearly now you have to be looking towards the future in terms of electrification.
“That’s not just in Formula E for us that’s with the other programmes that will be coming in the future as well and it’s something that I hope we’ll be able to exploit a little bit more through the course of season seven as well.”
As announced last year, Audi will be entering the 2022 Dakar Rally with an electric car, McNish made clear that the decision to exit the series derives from the manufacturers desire to keep evolving and developing.
“Electrification is not just related to Formula E” he stated.
“From an Audi perspective you’ve got to go back a little bit, motorsport is a real key part of the DNA – the tag line ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, it’s quite clearly always been there.”
“When we were looking at entering Formula E, Audi actually didn’t even have an electric car built and it was only at the end of that first season. One month later, Audi launched to the media its first full BEV car in San Francisco at the end of that year.
“So it was after one complete year of racing before we even launched that the Audi e-tron would in the future come to market. It’s very much a precursor for what was coming in the future as opposed to what you’re seeing now.”
Whilst discussing Audi’s decision, McNish reflects on what the team’s time in the series has meant.
“It will be four years in Formula E as an official manufacturer but ultimately it will be seven years having association with Lucas and also with Abt right from the beginning, it’s a time that has been a big support for Formula E right from the beginning.
“We were the first German manufacturer to jump into the category, which I’m very thankful actually that the others followed because it was better, it was the right step but it also meant it was something that I think had the correct momentum and push behind it for all of us in motorsport. Now the decision was made from the brand and the evolution of the technology when they wanted to go in the next direction.”