A man has fulfilled his dreams: Lucas di Grassi from the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team has caused a sensation and secured the Formula E title in a thrilling season finale in Montreal
The celebrations in the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport pits were boundless when Lucas di Grassi crossed the finish line as the new Formula E champion after 37 laps. After finishing third and second overall in the first two years of the electro racing series, the Brazilian has now completed his great goal. The German team are also celebrating second place in the hard-fought Formula E team rankings.
“With this title, a dream has come true. Team, family, friends, fans – I could hug them all at once right now,” says Lucas di Grassi. “We’ve had three terrific years with many emotions and unforgettable moments, but today’s achievement is the absolute pinnacle and a deserved reward for our unique team morale and fighting spirit. I’m proud to be the champion of Formula E. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian, who has lives in Monaco with his wife Bianca, was one of the founding fathers of the electro racing series: long before the first cars hit the track, he supported Alejandro Agag and his deputy, Alberto Longo, in the design and concept of Formula E and has since been one of its most prominent ambassadors. On 30 July 2017, he finally came full circle – another reason why this title is so special. There is hardly anyone in the paddock or the grandstands who is not pleased for Lucas di Grassi’s achievement.
The 2016/2017 season was a tough nut to crack for the new champion: it quickly became clear that the combination of title-defender Sébastien Buemi and the Renault factory team were always going to be difficult to beat. The Swiss driver’s lead had at one point grown to 43 points, but before the final races in Montreal, di Grassi had brought himself within striking distance with a ten-point deficit and now sits at the top of the table for the very first time this season – and at the perfect moment too.
“I’m incredibly happy. Today we were rewarded for never giving up,” says Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. “This title for me is on par with the first DTM triumph in 2002. At that time we were the underdogs as well, and we caused a sensation that many hadn’t even imagined. My thanks go to Lucas, Daniel, the entire team, the partners and of course the fans: you have all shown what’s possible when you pull together and believe in one another.”
The finale in Montreal also marks the end of a small era in Formula E: ABT Sportsline is handing over its grid position to Audi, which is entering the series with a factory-backed commitment, pushing forward the development together with Schaeffler and will race under the name Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. ABT Sportsline will remain as the supervising team. “Lucas’s title and our second place in the team rankings is a fantastic way to say goodbye to three splendid, exciting years. We are proud to have been one of the founding members of Formula E in 2014 and hopefully to have left behind a small legacy in the series.”
In the 33 Formula races of the first three years, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport hastaken a total 24 podiums and is therefore the most successful team on the grid. Lucas di Grassi has won six times – including at Formula E’s debut in September 2014 in Beijing.