Interview with Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt
With victory and third place last weekend, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt scored the best result ever in Formula E for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport squad. In this interview, the team mates talk about their emotions on the podium, the special relationship they have with each other and the goals for the forthcoming races in the electric series.
How did you find the days of the success in Long Beach?
Daniel Abt: "When you take into account a somewhat complicated return trip due to a party that went on too long - then tremendous (laughs). I received an incredible amount of messages; it appears that almost everybody followed the race in some form or another. The fantastic feedback did us all the world of good."
Lucas di Grassi: "Obviously, the feedback from the fans and media was enormous. I'm delighted that we were able to make such a comeback after the race in Mexico. The rehabilitation for the entire team was in my opinion even more important than the 40 points, which we scored together."
After being disqualified in Mexico, how hard was it for you to remain focused and motivated and not to give up?
Lucas di Grassi: "The words 'to give up' do not exist for me or my team. Of course the days after Mexico weren't easy, but I spent a lot more time thinking about Long Beach because I expected our rivals to be stronger there. Actually we only wanted to get the best out of the event there, which then turned into a double podium finish. The door is now slightly ajar and we aim to keep up the pressure."
Daniel, why was it the USA where you finally won another trophy?
Daniel Abt: "We simply had a trouble free race day at the right moment: the team was perfect, I didn't make any mistakes, and we also had a bit of luck everything simply fell into place. Only when this happens can you hope to win a trophy and taste the champagne in Formula E."
You mounted the podium together with your team mate for the first time. How did you feel?
Daniel Abt: "Just mega. We actually had this fixed in our minds for Mexico and had secretly thought about what we would do in such an event. I was absolutely delighted that Lucas made such a rapid recovery."
Lucas di Grassi: "And the same goes for Daniel! He had been on the brink of finishing on the podium for a long time, and hopefully he'll now be a regular visitor."
You both tweeted "More than just team mates" with the photos from the podium. What makes your relationship so special?
Lucas di Grassi: "We aren't just team mates, but also friends. Daniel is a good guy and very talented. But he still wants to keep learning. Perhaps we get on so well together because we are at different stages in our careers: I can pass on my experience from Formula 1 or the WEC and he pushes me to the limit every time. I'm sure he will win soon in Formula E."
Daniel Abt: "Friendship is the correct word. The chemistry between us is just right; we are on the same wavelength. This goes for working on the track just as it does when joking around away from the paddock. Lucas is extremely professional and keeps pushing the team. I still have a lot to learn. It's great that he is with us."
Lucas, you have now received the FanBoost for three consecutive events. How important is the fans' support online and at the circuit?
Lucas di Grassi: "Daniel, the entire team and I get an incredible amount of encouragement from the fans. We are extremely grateful for this. It's wonderful to feel the support even when things don't go so well. My thanks for the FanBoost go to all the fans, but especially to my YouTube friend Edu who is particularly instrumental with his many followers. The FanBoost only helps if you are quick as well - as with the decisive manoeuvre in Mexico."
Formula E now comes to Europe. What do you expect from the forthcoming races, including the team's home race in Berlin?
Daniel Abt: "With Paris and Berlin, two absolute highlights are on the horizon, but also two new tracks, which none of us know. We'll continue with the same level of concentration and motivation and do everything in our power to finish on the podium again and preferably together."
Lucas di Grassi: "We should not forget that we have only just reached the half way stage of the season. Renault has a better car, but we have also seen that it's all about the entire package: technology, driver, team, strategy. Paris is a new highlight on the calendar - congratulations to Formula E that it managed to organize this race in the middle of the city. Yes, it is the home race for our French friends and competitors, but that is of no interest to me. Let's go there and try to win!"
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport