VW Emission Scandal Beneficial For Formula E Team Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport

The Volkswagen emissions scandal could be a blessing in disguise for the Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport team, according to its team principal. Hans-Jurgen Abt told SBD Global at the inaugural Mexico City ePrix that the diesel emissions scandal, dubbed "Dieselgate," has had no impact on the team’s business.

In fact, he said, it could be beneficial. "For us, it’s helpful because I think [the electric vehicle market] is getting stronger and stronger," he said.

"We are in the right direction." Abt defended his longtime partner by saying that it is difficult for all manufacturers to reach the emissions standards. The only German team involved in the electric racing circuit has strong ties to the Volkswagen Group. Abt has been working with Audi — a subsidiary of VW — for 20 years. The team not only has Audi in its name, but VW became a strategic partner ahead of this season.

While only affiliated by name and logo with the Formula E team, Audi and Volkswagen both are putting an increased focus on EVs.

"Audi and Volkswagen are really interested in the concept [of Formula E] and they are watching it," Abt said. Therefore, he added, being involved with the Abt team "fits what they are doing."

Formula E is not only a fit for the Volkswagen Group, but also for Abt Sportsline itself. Abt is a development company, with an emphasis on motor racing and road car tuning. The company, Abt said, also does a lot of work in terms of electrical systems within cars. He added that the Volkswagen Group, along with fellow German car brand BMW, could join the series due to its increasing relevance for road cars.

The two manufacturers would join Renault, Citroen and, starting next season, Jaguar on the circuit. BMW is already a partner of Formula E. The Munich-based company also supplies the series’ safety car and medical car in the form of its EV model series, BMWi. HJ Mai/SBJ

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