Formula E, ABT and the Climate Summit visit Marrakesh

Formula E is the official partner event of the UN Climate Conference “COP22"

For the first time Formula E goes to the African continent: On Saturday (November 12), the electric racing series holds its second round of the season in Marrakesh. Good timing: whilst ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport fights for trophies with drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, heads of state from all over the world are meeting for the United Nations Climate Conference ‘COP22’.

From 19th on the grid to second on the podium, drama until the final lap, small mishaps and triumphs all within a few hours: The Formula E season opener four weeks ago was not for the faint hearted. And it all concluded with a champagne party with Lucas di Grassi on the podium. Now it’s time for the next round: the setting on Saturday in Marrakesh is the longest circuit of the season, at 2.971 kilometres.

“I’m looking forward to Marrakesh and I can promise that we are going to attack again,” says Lucas di Grassi. His ascension from 19th to second place in Hong Kong was the biggest fight-back ever seen in Formula E’s young history. “It’s good to know that with optimal energy management and a perfect team strategy we can still overcome difficult situations.” He feels well prepared for the second series event: “My team and our partners never rest. They work tirelessly between the races and are always improving even the smallest details that can really be decisive.”

Teammate Daniel Abt travels to Africa feeling optimistic. “It’s my first race in Africa and as always I’m looking forward to the setting and the atmosphere.” While many competitors stumbled in a chaotic qualifying in Hong Kong, the 23-year-old, who is the second-youngest on the grid, held his nerve and nailed down fourth on the starting grid. An unavoidable collision prevented a top result. “But we know that we have what it takes to be at the front. This is my goal for Marrakesh: a strong qualifying next time out and then a clean race without incidents.”

Formula E is the official partner event of the UN Climate Conference “COP22”, which takes place in Marrakesh at the same time. Those taking part include US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “A race along side this summit is yet another milestone for Formula E,” says Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. “The whole world will be looking at Marrakesh during these few days – and for us that is even more motivation to present the series and our team with a good result.”

As always, Formula E will hold free practice, qualifying and the race within hours of each other. Lights out are at 4 pm local time, (5 pm CET). The race at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, which is also used by the World Touring Car Championship, will see over 33 laps and will be broadcast live on Eurosport.

A word from formula E driver Daniel Abt

You have just started in your third Formula E season. How have your experienced the development of the series?

Daniel Abt: “I get the feeling that Formula E is at the forefront of motorsport at the moment. Not only because more and more manufacturers are showing interest and are getting involved, but the reception from the media and fans has been enormous. Formula E is taking off at the right speed – and we are only at the beginning of a world tour.”

Have you been able to take something positive from the season opener in Hong Kong despite your DNF?

“Yes, quite a lot actually. Of course there are zero points on paper, which doesn’t look great. But more importantly we are on the ball and we can contest for trophies and victories. Lucas has shown what is possible from the back of the grid. And if we had been a bit smarter with strategy for my race, I could have gone even further. From this we have learned and we are going to attack again.”

What was the atmosphere like in Hong Kong?

“Incredible. We have already been to some great places, but Formula E always seems to manage to create a new one. That skyline, with this flair and the many great fans – and with our racing cars in the middle of it all. I think many of my fellow drivers are like me in that as soon as the race weekend is over I cannot wait to get to the next location.”

You let your fans participate in the whole experience though your social media channels, especially in your vlogs on YouTube. What is so much fun about it?

 “I just really enjoying having direct contact with the fans on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. This has always been the case and it fits perfectly with the philosophy of Formula E. The film making for YouTube started out as bit of fun but now is becoming more and more professional. I recently joined the ‘Studio71’ network, which has helped me with the marketing process and through which I have met many other YouTubers. I really enjoy it and let’s see where it leads.”

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Marrakesh ePrix
Track Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Drivers Lucas di Grassi , Daniel Abt
Teams Team Abt
Article type Preview