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McNish: Audi Drivers Allowed to Race Each Other

Abt, di Grassi free to battle on track, according to Audi team principal McNish…

Photo: Formula E

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team principal Allan McNish says the team will continue to allow its drivers to race each other despite friction between Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi at the New York City E-Prix last month.

Abt voiced his concerns that the team had changed its strategy by letting him and di Grassi race after the German driver had led the first half of the penultimate ABB FIA Formula E Championship race of the season.

The confusion was blamed on a miscommunication between the team and Abt but was exacerbated by an aggressive move for the lead by di Grassi which ultimately won him the race.

“It was very clear from our side and under the circumstances we made all the right decisions at the right times because we got a result out of it,” McNish told e-racing365.

“I would much prefer to have two drivers that are focused and determined on winning races than not. If they are wanting to occupy the same piece of tarmac for a win then that is better than having one at the front and one at the back.

“Overall I think it is a positive situation to be in where n the odd occasion we have to manage it, and I mean ‘we’ as a team including the drivers. We have to have one overall view.”

McNish confirmed that the team will continue to allow its drivers to compete against each other unless specific conditions dictate management in the final stages of races.

“Opinions can differ of course like they did in New York a little, but we should a day later that it was water under the bridge and we got the job done,” he said.

“Therefore our overall strategy of allowing them to race, within reason, will remain.”

Abt Took “Huge Step Forward” in S4

McNish believes that Abt matured into a potent force over the course of the 2017-18 season which saw him claim two race wins in Mexico City and Berlin.

He secured his best ever championship finish of fifth and contributed a significant points score to assist Audi in winning the teams’ title.

“With Daniel, what I saw back in Season Three was a talent there that was a little hidden because of the relative lack of results,” McNish said.

“We put in quite a lot of effort to ensure the team structure supported both Lucas and Daniel last season.

“In review, I think having Daniel as an official Audi driver was a very important thing for him and he stood up to the task.”

McNish says that becoming an official Audi factory driver last year also helped Abt to become a more well-rounded competitor.

“I think it was probably an easier situation that it was Audi he answered to and not ABT, that is just my personal point of view,” he explained.

“I think he has grown up a bit and become his own person, you notice that in and out of the car.

“He has taken a huge step forward and actually I don’t think that is the end of his development either and I am looking forward to seeing where he can go next year.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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