The deck is being reshuffled
The levels of excitement reached during the third Formula E season were almost unsurpassable. It was only during the last racing weekend held in Montreal in July that it became clear who would win the championship title for the international electric racing series. After taking third and second place in the overall rankings in seasons one and two, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi was ten points behind the defending champion Sébastian Buemi of Renault when he traveled to Canada. In the crucial moment, di Grassi succeeded in keeping his nerve, delivering a flawless race and transforming his trailing position into an 18-point lead thanks to a pole position and his lights-to-flag victory. The Brazilian’s seventh place finish in the last race was enough to secure him the overall championship win. “Today is the best day of my career”, said Lucas di Grassi after the race. “I believed in Formula E from day one because the world is changing, which means that motorsport is also changing. We’ve had three fantastic years filled with a lot of emotions and unforgettable moments. But today’s victory is the absolute highlight and the reward for our unbelievable team and competitive spirit. I am proud to be the Formula E champion.”
“We did our homework”
Now the deck is about to be reshuffled. The fourth round of the Formula E will start with the two races in the heart of Hong Kong on 2 and 3 December. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team feels well-prepared. “We did our homework”, says Lucas di Grassi. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good you are – what’s important in sports is how good you are in comparison to the competition. And that is something we will only find out during the practice session when the fourth season kicks off in Hong Kong.”
A lot of changes at Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
The team behind the two drivers di Grassi and teammate Daniel Abt is heading to the starting line with a number of changes. In the fourth season, German automobile manufacturer Audi will be assuming ABT Sportsline’s spot on the Formula E starting grid. ABT will be responsible for the Audi race cars as the fielding team. “We are proud to have helped write a piece of motorsport history as one of the founding members”, says Hans-Jürgen Abt. “Because Formula E has grown so rapidly in only a few years, it is no longer possible for a team to be competitive without the support of an automobile manufacturer. That’s why we are happy to now hand over the command to Audi – a partner with whom we have been collaborating successfully in motorsports and in day-to-day operations for many decades. I am certain that we will carry this success story forward in the Formula E.” Head of Audi Motor Sport, Dieter Gass, adds: “Formula E is a spectacular motorsport series held in the hearts of fascinating cities and is a great platform for showcasing electromobility and motorsports in their most emotional form. I am very pleased that the course is now set for a successful future and that we are bringing our first fully electric race car, the Audi e-tron FE04, to the starting line.” Together with their technology partner Schaeffler, Audi has developed a completely overhauled powertrain consisting of the motor, transmission, parts of the suspension and the respective software.
The core element of the new Audi race car, called e-tron FE04, is the combination of the motor and transmission. The engineers focused on further enhancing the efficiency of the motor generator unit. To transfer the power to the wheels in the 2017/2018 season, the team will be using a high-efficiency transmission with just one instead of the previous three gears. The most obvious change for the many Formula E fans is the cars’ new look, which features a white, metallic green and black color scheme.
“The car is fast”
So far, the experience with the new race car has been promising. The Audi e-tron FE04 made a big impression during the official Formula E test drives in Valencia (Spain) in October. The cars performed reliably during all three training days. “Daniel and Lucas felt comfortable in the car from the outset and confirmed to me that the changes we introduced were good and that the new powertrain is a major step forward”, says the new team principal Allan McNish. Daniel Abt, who has been an Audi factory driver since October, confirms this: “The tests in Valencia went very smoothly. With the new software and other elements, there was a lot to learn. The car runs beautifully and it’s fast. I can hardly wait for my first two races in Hong Kong as an Audi factory driver.”
A strong duo
Like in the previous seasons, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will be putting the tried-and-tested duo of drivers Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt on the starting line during the fourth season of the Formula E. As the current Formula E champion, Lucas di Grassi will for the first time be starting with the car number “1” in the fourth season. The Brazilian is one of the founding members of the electric racing series and one of its first ambassadors. The championship title was a dream come true for the 33-year-old. But the defending champion does not want to rest on his laurels: “Yesterday’s trophies don’t win any of tomorrow’s races. We’re all starting back at zero points and may just be in for the most competitive Formula E season to date”, says Lucas di Grassi.
The young Formula E driver Daniel Abt (race number 66), who has been an Audi factory driver since October, will be sitting in the second Audi e-tron FE04 cockpit. Despite his young age, 24-year-old Daniel Abt has already gathered experience in nearly all formula racing categories below Formula 1. He has also been in the Formula E since the outset and is heading into the new season with a lot of optimism and ambition: “I hope that my bad luck in racing is now finally behind me and that I have a smooth season without any technical issues. If that’s the case, I’m sure the results will also be pleasing. When you’re driving in the same team as the champion, podium finishes, victories and fitting for the title have to be the benchmark.”
LGT – the private bank of the Princely House of Liechtenstein
LGT is a leading international private banking and asset management group that has been fully controlled by the Princely House of Liechtenstein for over 80 years. The company employs over 3000 people who work out of more than 20 locations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The bank has been present in Asia for 30 years
A bank shares in the excitement
Mr. Colani, on 2 and 3 December, Hong Kong will be host to the Formula E for the second time. Are you looking forward to the two races?
Yes, very much so. I attended the Formula E premiere in Hong Kong last year together with a number of guests and colleagues, and I really enjoyed it. A race that takes place in the middle of the city is a very special event. Our guests were also extremely enthusiastic about the atmosphere and all the racing-day action.
I assume that as a sponsor, you will probably be crossing your fingers for Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler again this year. Is that correct?
Absolutely. The race is even more exciting when you are cheering for a specific team. With Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, we are the partner of an absolutely top-ranking team that is entering this year’s season as the defending champion and is sure to once again be a frontrunner in the fight for the podium.
Why did LGT decide to sponsor Formula E?
Formula E stands for progressive thinking and actions, and uses innovative technologies in order to contribute to the development of future mobility. Innovation and sustainability have always been factors that we identify strongly with and that play an important role in our corporate culture.
Both motorsport and the finance industry are very dynamic. That’s why it’s important to on the one hand offer clients security and stability, which we do. LGT Bank has recently been selected us as one of the world’s 50 safest banks by Global Finance magazine. On the other hand, you also need to be innovative if you want to invest successfully in the long-term. That’s why, for example, when it comes to investments, we have been investing in alternative strategies and private equity since the late 1990s. And we have continued to significantly grow our expertise in this sector over the last few years in the areas of insurance linked securities and private debt.
And why is sustainability important to you?
In a world that is facing growing societal and environmental challenges, we want to create value for the economy and society. Ideally, this is a way to increase growth and profits while at the same time having a positive impact for our clients, our owner and our employees as well as society and the environment. As an investor and investment advisor for capital allocation, we can play an important role here by making a contribution to a more sustainable world.
How do you do that?
As an investor and an investment advisor, we for example collaborate with companies that take a long term approach and focus on long-term technologies as well as processes, and that solve problems instead of creating them. We don’t only use typical financial data to evaluate companies that we invest in or that we work with, we also look at their overarching goals, their leadership principles and their attitudes toward employees, the environment and society (so-called ESG criteria). In the areas where we have sufficient influence as advisors or investors, we specifically endeavor to ensure that organizations define meaningful social and environmental objectives in order to improve their sustainable positioning and impact. We also help our private clients align their portfolios in a more sustainable manner.
Do your clients appreciate that?
Yes, very much so. A growing number of clients feel it is important that they do more with their money than just invest it successfully for the long-term. They are increasingly looking to put their money into sustainable investments and they want to invest in a way that is in line with their morals.
Can Formula E also contribute to making the future better?
I think so, yes. Formula E addresses a highly topical issue of our times, namely what mobility could look like in the future. We believe in the potential of electromobility, and as a partner of Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, want to contribute to propelling the development of e-mobility forward.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Team ABT has been a successful participant in the Formula E since the series was founded. In the 33 races held to date, the two drivers Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt have secured 24 podium finishes, six victories and four pole positions. In the 2016/2017 season alone, Lucas di Grassi won three pole positions and clinched seven podium finishes in twelve races – di Grassi’s championship title at the end of season three is in great part also attributable to this consistency. In the fourth season, Audi will be assuming ABT Sportsline’s spot on the Formula E starting grid. With the Audi e-tron FE04, the German automobile manufacturer is presenting its first fully electric race car. Audi’s factory-backed commitment to the Formula E will support the company in its transformation from a traditional car manufacturer to a forward-looking mobility provider.