Why did BMW leave Formula 1?

"Motorsport has always been in the DNA": Abt questions exits from Audi and BMW

(Motorsport-Total.com) - German automobile racing is in a state of upheaval. The DTM will no longer exist in its previous form and will be repositioned next year with GT3 vehicles. Audi and BMW recently announced that they would soon be leaving Formula E. In addition, Volkswagen has announced that it will end its involvement in motorsport completely.

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In Formula E, Abt-Audi is one of the top Zoom teams

"To be honest: I no longer understand what some manufacturers are doing there", Hans-Jürgen Abt is quoted by the 'Bild'. Audi's strategic decision also affects the Abt team. You have been involved in the DTM for 20 years and have also been successful in Formula E in recent years.

When the electric racing series was launched and had its first season in 2014/15, Abt was there as a private team. Audi later got on board. As the major German manufacturers, with the exception of Mercedes, who continue to do Formula 1 and Formula E, and Porsche (Formula E) are now reorienting themselves, questions arise.

"Motorsport has always been the DNA of many German car brands," recalls Abt. "But the marketing strategists seem to believe that you no longer need sporting competition to sell cars. They obviously believe that they can reach people differently."


Hans-Jürgen Abt questions the strategic decisionsZoom

In the motorcycle sector, BMW continues to operate the project in the Superbike World Championship. Audi plans to tackle the Dakar Rally with a hybrid engine from 2022. There are also plans for a return to the sports car scene under the new LMDh regulations.

Abt wants to continue in motorsport despite Audi off

Customer sport should also remain a pillar. For a team like Abt, the current decisions of the board members mean that you have to reposition yourself. Abbot definitely wants to continue.

"We hold intensive talks and try everything to ensure that it continues," emphasizes Abt. "You don't just stop because the manufacturer is withdrawing! And I've always seen resistance as a challenge."

Above all, the 57-year-old cannot understand the decision against Formula E, as many automobile manufacturers rely on electromobility: "And now that the new, proprietary drive train is ready, as Sat.1 will be broadcasting the next few years - Audi is rising again out."

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The Abt-Audi TT from the early 2000s was legendary in the DTMZoom

However, Abt is confident that other manufacturers will follow suit, because there are many new brands, especially in Asia, that have specialized in e-mobility. Formula E would be the international showcase for this.

A commitment in the new GT3 DTM is also conceivable for Abt. When the DTM was restarted for the second time in 2000, Abt was there with an Audi TT. Audi only got in later. It was similar to what happened later in Formula E, when Abt was the pioneer and Audi joined later.

Lucas di Grassi became Formula E champion in the 2019/17 season. In 2017/18 they won the team championship. For the future, Abt has already opened up a new field of activity. You will start in the new Extreme E series.

From 2021, this racing series, in which purely electrically powered SUVs are used, will drive in extreme locations such as the Himalayas or the Arctic. Mattias Ekström, who was successful with Audi in the DTM, was signed up as the driver.