In 54 days from now, Formula E will start its second season in Beijing.
ABT Sportsline has completed its preparations. Following the last official pre-season tests at Donington, the cars and material will be sent to China before the end of the week. The only German Team will be competing in the electric racing series with new technology, new partners and a slightly changed livery.
The last two test days at Donington at the beginning of the week mark the conclusion of a long period of preparation that already began during the first season. Recognition of the team as a manufacturer by the FIA in February, the rollout of the ABT Schaeffler FE01 in Neuburg on 11 June, and the official homologation by the governing body a week later were major milestones. The opening round of the second season on Saturday, 17 October 2015 in Beijing will be the next highlight.
Weve got some intensive months behind us not only at the race track but also in the garage, on the test benches and in front of the computer. Id like to thank our squad for their great commitment, says team boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. Ive got the feeling that were optimally prepared for the challenges of the second season, but well only know in Beijing where we stand compared to the competition.
Technology: ABT and Schaeffler develop their own powertrain
While in the Formula Es inaugural season all teams were competing with specification cars, the entire powertrain has been allowed as a variable for the 2015/2016 season. Its core element is the electric motor named ABT Schaeffler MGU 01. The development was focused on achieving maximum efficiency, high reliability and optimum thermal management thanks to modified cooling. The motor has better torque and better efficiency than its predecessor, says Prof Peter Gutzmer, who as CTO is responsible for the developments at Schaeffler.
ABT and Schaeffler have also developed a new gearbox that is coordinated with the motor and was manufactured by the renowned partner Hewland according to special specifications. It is stiffer and more compact. To achieve the objective of minimising shifting events per lap, the engineers opted for a three-speed variant. The suspension has been optimised as well, now exhibiting higher stiffness and improved kinematics. The newly developed software that is responsible for the interaction of all components is the connecting link. Perfecting its functionality was one of the focal points of the pre-season tests.
Partner: Volkswagen is new strategic partner
The most obvious change on the ABT Schaeffler FE01 is the Volkswagen logo. The brand has taken up a commitment in Formula E as the teams strategic partner. ABT Sportsline and Volkswagen have been enjoying a long-standing and successful partnership in which sustainability concepts have been playing a key role. From 2011 to 2014, for instance, the Scirocco R-Cup with its bio gas cars was held as the worlds most environmentally friendly one-make cup. With fully electric models such as the e-Golf and the e-up! as well as plug-in hybrids like the Golf GTE and the Passat GTE, Volkswagen has the largest product range of cars with electrified drive systems.
Whereas Volkswagen is new on board and Schaeffler has changed its role of sponsor to that of technology partner, the team can continue to rely on all of its major partners from the inaugural season. Like last year, Deutsche Post (Daniel Abt) and DHL (Lucas di Grassi) are sharing the front and rear wings and the sidepods. Würth Elektronik continues its partnership, as are the Warsteiner Brewery and the German football cup winner VfL Wolfsburg. All team-members are wearing sunglasses of the TITANflex brand.
Formula E was a big adventure for all of us that nobody was really able to precisely assess. Still, everyone supported us from day one and we owe them a big debt of gratitude for their support, says ABTs head of marketing Harry Unflath. By now, all partners have become big Formula E fans and together with them were looking forward to the second season with many new ideas and activities. Im proud of the fact that all our sponsors are staying with us and that in Volkswagen weve been able to gain a partner that ABT has been enjoying a long and successful relationship with.
Livery: The ABT Schaeffler FE01 will be greener than its predecessor
Red, yellow and green: The basic colours of ABT Sportslines Formula E race cars will remain. However, the corporate colour of technology partner Schaeffler will receive a larger share than last year. New as well will be the yellow side wings and sidepods. At the front of the car the German national colours, black, red and yellow dominate, and at the rear those of Brazil, yellow and green. Or, as Lucas di Grassi puts it with a smile: Our car has the face of a German and the bum of a Brazilian woman.
Team: ABT Sportsline continues to rely on Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi
While with many other teams there are still some question marks behind the filling of the cockpits, the situation at ABT Sportsline has already been clear for the past two months: Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi will again be racing together in the 2015/2016 season. The German-Brazilian duo clinched third place in the teams classification the first year and Lucas di Grassi was in contention for the drivers title up to the last race. Daniel and Lucas are fast and clever race drivers which they proved in their first joint season, says Hans-Jürgen Abt. For us, continuity and peace in the team are an important element of success. Thats why it was soon clear that wed be making the next step together.
Timing: Next on the agenda
Following the last official Formula E pre-season tests, the cars and the material of the teams will be loaded and shipped to China by partner DHL. There will be no further testing opportunities afterwards. The drivers will merely be able to prepare for the season opener in the simulator. In Beijing, on October 17, the all-clear will be given for FIA Formula Es second season.