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With Audi, Formula E loses one of the most prominent participants Zoom
The big surprise, however, is the exit from Formula E, after all, Audi only made it clear seven months ago in the course of the DTM exit that they wanted to focus more on electric mobility in the future. At that time, the new Audi boss Markus Duesmann described Formula E as a “very attractive platform” for promoting the change “to become a provider of sporty, sustainable electromobility”.
But then at the end of August Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess caused a stir with a request to speak on the business platform ‘LinkedIn’. “A Formula 1 with synthetic fuels is more exciting, is more fun, is a better motorsport experience and brings more technical competition with it than a Formula E that drives a few laps in city centers in gaming mode,” said Diess.
Does Audi no longer need Formula E?
In doing so, he not only brought arguments in favor of a possible Formula 1 entry for Porsche, but also withdrew confidence in the racing series, in which two group brands are represented with Audi and Porsche.
But how do you argue internally about the exit? According to information from ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, Formula E, in which it was represented from the start, was needed to promote the topic of electromobility – at Volkswagen Group Strategy. The Ingolstadt-based company is now of the opinion that electromobility is now a reality and that the platform has therefore lost its importance.
Dakar Rally with X-Raid and return to Le Mans
In addition, the electric racing series is still barely present in the mainstream media despite its new status as a world championship and the enormous manufacturer interest. However, the costs would speak in favor of continuing the commitment: While the manufacturer’s budgets currently fluctuate between 30 and 60 million euros per year, the development for the following season 8 (2021/22) is frozen, which means that falling costs can be assumed.
Audi was at the start as the namesake in all six Formula E years, but only as namesake in the first three years, because Abt handled the commitment completely alone and became champion with Lucas di Grassi in 2016/17. When the project ran under the direction of Audi the following year, the team secured the title.
What does the Dakar project look like, which Audi will now be presenting alongside the LMDh project? The mission is to take place under the direction of the X-Raid troop led by team boss Sven Quandt, who is already responsible for BMW’s mini project. Quandt and Duesmann know each other well from his time at BMW, where the current Audi boss was initially responsible for the powertrain area and had acted as Board Member for Purchasing from 2016.