Banks Get Involved in Formula E

Lucas di Grassi, Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

Lucas di Grassi, Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

The third Formula E season has started in Hong Kong last Saturday, and two Swiss private banks are in on the action.

At the outset, skepticism and reluctance prevailed. Die-hard motor sport fans in particular were wary of the Formula E, the first racing series for electric cars.

The cars are smaller and significantly slower than Formula 1 racecars, and the less intense, more mellow sound of the electric cars takes some getting used to.

But only two years into the series, the Formula E has already developed into a serious motor sport series that is captivating millions of viewers around the world. Two Swiss banks are also convinced of the concept and the success of the Formula E, and have gotten involved in the the racing series. Julius Baer is the series sponsor, and LGT sponsors the Formula E team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Twelve Races, Ten Cities, One Day

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In contrast to traditional motor sport events, the Formula E races are not held on circuits located far outside city centers, but rather in the downtown core of major cities. Twelve races in ten cities will be held around the world in the upcoming 2016/2017 season.

«Races in the heart of Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Paris, Berlin and New York – this is unique in the history of motor sport,» says Hans-Jürgen Abt, Team Principal ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.

All the racing events take place on one single day: the trainings are held in the morning, the qualifyings at midday, and the races in the afternoon. The races are approximately 50 minutes long, and about half way through, each of the 20 drivers must change cars, as the batteries are not yet capable of lasting for the entire distance of the race.

Expertise For Mass Production

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During the first season, all teams started with the same cars. Since then, however, the teams have been authorized to fully modify their power trains. All of the other components remain the same for all ten teams.

«The experiences gained from the Formula E are extremely important for us,» says Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler, the company that develops the ABT team’s electric motor in collaboration with ABT.

«Thanks to the work we do together, the ongoing discussions and the direct competition, we learn a lot that can later be applied to mass production,» he added.


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