Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE04 (2017) - Gen1 Season 4
Based on the Spark-Renault SRT_01E platform, the Audi e-tron FE04 was Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s competitor for the 2017-18 Formula E season. Heading into the new season, ABT Audi Sport became Audi Sport ABT to reflect the increased manufacturer involvement from Audi. The driver line-up remained unchanged as defending champion Lucas di Grassi was joined once again by Daniel Abt.
The season started poorly for the Audi Sport team in Hong Kong. Di Grassi suffered rear suspension failure after a collision with Sebastian Buemi during the first race, though Abt did salvage a fifth-place finish after struggling with technical errors himself. In the second race, di Grassi stopped temporarily at the side of the track at turn six with a battery management system fault, falling to 17th after managing to restart his car. He failed to reach the points. Abt continued his good form, taking advantage of the Edoardo Mortara’s mistake to take the race victory. The victory was short lived though, as three hours after the race, it was announced by the FIA stewards that Abt's car was not compliant with the Formula E technical regulations and he was disqualified, taking away Abt’s first Formula E victory. The poor start continued in Marrakesh and Santiago as Audi took a solitary point in total. Di Grassi retired with a battery management system failure and Abt took tenth place in the former, whilst a double retirement, di Grassi due to an electrical problem and Abt because of a loss of power, in the latter ensured Audi Sport, who had dropped to seventh place (63 points behind the leading Mahindra team), had a lot of work to do.
Things hugely improved at race four in Mexico City, as the team got into its stride. No race would finish for the rest of the season without one of the Audi Sport duo on the podium. Abt achieved this first in Mexico, taking his long-awaited maiden victory and becoming the first ever German Formula E race winner. Di Grassi’s form picked up at the following race and, after some much improved reliability, he gained four successive second place finishes, in Punta del Este, Rome, Paris and Berlin. In the latter, Audi’s home ePrix, the duo scored a 1-2 victory as Abt claimed the sport’s first Grand Slam, qualifying on pole, claiming the fastest lap and winning the race. Di Grassi carried his form into Zurich and scored his first victory of the season after a superb drive from fifth on the grid, keeping Audi in championship contention. Going into the final weekend, Audi Sport were 33 points behind the Techeetah-Renault team who were leading the championship. In the penultimate race, Di Grassi scored a race win ahead of his teammate Abt in second; the perfect result for the team, closing the gap at the top of the Championship to just five points. Though Techeetah rival Jean-Eric Vergne secured maximum points as he triumphed in the season’s final race, di Grassi and Abt earned a 2-3 finish whilst the other Techeetah of Lotterer failed to score the seventh place required, sparking jubilant celebrations in the Audi garage. The incredible haul of 76 points in the final two races in New York saw Audi Sport claim the title by a narrow two-point margin.
Overall, the Audi e-tron FE04 earned four victories, 7 further podiums and 264 points for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, claiming them the Teams’ Championship title. Di Grassi and Abt finished second and fifth respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE04 is limited to just 99 editions.
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