Audi: FE manufacturer behaviour "completely different" to F1/WEC

The behaviour of manufacturers in Formula E is “completely different” to Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship, according to Audi’s motorsport boss.

Audi: FE manufacturer behaviour "completely different" to F1/WEC
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
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Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, leads Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
 Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
 Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
 Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Audi is in its first season with a fully-works FE entry, but has been aligned to the Abt team for several years.

It withdrew from the WEC’s LMP1 ranks to focus on the electric single-seater series, and appears no closer to an F1 move despite regularly being linked to grand prix racing.

Audi is one of several manufacturers in FE, with Nissan, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche joining in future seasons, and its motorsport chief Dieter Gass told Motorsport.com the series had a very strong cohesion between marques.

“In some way the three championships, as they are run, are completely different,” he said.

“F1 has such a history that they have never been questioning whether there could be a problem for the championship not existing. Rightly, probably.

“F1 is not so much depending on manufacturers. For teams it’s their business, they always want to be there.

“The WEC was even worse than F1 for discussion because of different allowed concepts and manufacturers were trying to get the rules to get an advantage.

“There were very few participants and very harsh discussions on those subjects.

“Formula E is a young plant that is growing and the people that have been involved from the very beginning, they take care of it, they know it is sensitive and need to take care of it.

“That’s the right approach. I hope we can carry on that way.”

Audi FE team principal Allan McNish said that greater manufacturer participation and individual interests would make it trickier to make group decisions over time.

“We’ve all got a voice to bring it in the right direction for the common good, not just the good of one manufacturer,” he said.

“So far the discussions are reasonably open, but I don’t think it’s an easy road to tread.”

Gass explained that “common sense” in the discussions is good at the moment, but he thinks the championship has to accept that will change as more brands enter.

“I’m afraid that with more manufacturers coming in the level of competitiveness between one and another will increase, you will lose that a little bit,” said Gass.

“You have to be realistic about that.”

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