Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance

Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance

The last time I sat down for an interview with Allan McNish was at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this year. Months before our meeting at the world-famous exhibition, McNish was confirmed as the Team Principal at the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team – arguably a big jump for the hugely successful racing driver into managing a Formula E team. It is fair to say the start of the season for the team didn’t quite go to plan: disqualification, disappointment and disaster for then-series Champion Lucas di Grassi. Odds of winning the Constructors’ title seemed near impossible mid-way through the season, with McNish telling me that “the chances of winning the championship is a bit like a train that had already departed the station.” Fast forward just a little over seven months later and Allan and I reunited for another 1-to-1 interview. This time we are sat in the Audi Motorhome in Valencia as pre-season testing gets underway behind us. It is a very chilled environment, drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi continue to soak up laps during the three day test in a car that looks to be pretty competitive for season five, oh and Audi did the impossible and are the current Constructors’ champions.

“That sounds like a good analogy, doesn’t it?”, McNish begins with when I tell him of his ever-so slightly pessimistic attitude the last time we managed to sit down for an interview. “There was a few times when I look back and think, there is no way that that could ever happen,” he continued. “If you look at the points and where we were and the performance we had and the performance everybody else had, then normally, it wasn’t possible. I think it was partly due to, I would say, a reasonable car, because I do think the car was good. No, we knew the car was always good. We knew we could be competitive.

“Us taking advantage of every situation that came, I think that was one key factor. Another key factor was having two drivers that were competitive all the time. And that wasn’t the case with everybody in the pit lane. And the final one was, when it came down to it, we held our nerve, and not everybody did.”

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Steering issue hindered di Grassi’s Berlin race

Steering issue hindered di Grassi’s Berlin race

A steering issue with Lucas di Grassi’s second Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler car limited his chances at taking the win from team mate Daniel Abt this weekend at the Berlin ePrix.

Having fought his way up the grid and into second place after starting from fifth, making a small and un-characteristic mistake in the SuperPole shoot out earlier in the day,  he told katyfairman.com “I think with the second car I definitely had the chance but my second car had some kind of problem. We need to investigate that.”

Discussing the issue in further detail, the season three Formula E champion said that issues with the vibration within the car even lead to him “just wanting to finish the race.”

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“It’s black or it’s white – there is no grey”: Allan McNish talks the ‘challenging’ transition from Driver to Team Principal

“It’s black or it’s white – there is no grey”: Allan McNish talks the ‘challenging’ transition from Driver to Team Principal

Allan McNish is someone who knows motorsport like the back of his hand. An ex-Formula One driver, 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion, and three-time 24hs Le Mans winner, McNish is not only one of the most talented individuals in motorsport, he is also one of the most-liked and respected.

These days he can be found offering expert opinions and analysis for the WEC ‘Super Season’ as a broadcaster or in his newly-appointed role of Team Principal for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team. Having been linked with Audi Sport since 1999 and proving his worth as a truly fantastic ambassador for the German car manufacturer, it was no surprise that since announcing his retirement in 2013 he has stayed within the motorsport community in a more managerial role.

“I had a lot of success on the circuit but we [myself and Audi] also had success off it and so when I stopped racing, I knew I wanted to continue in the sport because it is my life and also because I knew that I wanted to continue with the people I had built my life with,” McNish states when I ask him about life after professional racing.

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Powered Up for Paris: what to expect from the Formula E ePrix

Powered Up for Paris: what to expect from the Formula E ePrix

Formula E returns to the Parisian streets for a third consecutive year this weekend. This season, which started in December when the all-electric championship visited Hong Kong, now only has five races remaining in the battle to decide the victor of the season four drivers’ title.

Currently Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne looks to be the favourite, 18 points ahead of Sam Bird who is second in the standings, but recent races have left the former F1 driver craving more than just totalling up championship points. He wants wins, especially in front of his home crowd this weekend.

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“I didn’t think we would win”: McNish talks the Mexico City ePrix

“I didn’t think we would win”: McNish talks the Mexico City ePrix

Since stepping into the role of Team Principal at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E team, racing legend Allan McNish has had his fair share of highs and lows. With reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi and fan-favourite Daniel Abt continuing with their electric team-mate dynamic within the team for season four, McNish’s first season as newly appointed team principal should have been a relatively easy ride.

However an unreliable car for di Grassi throughout the season so far lead to him being at the bottom of the points and a shock disqualification for Daniel Abt’s inaugural win at the Hong Kong ePrix at the start of this season meant that the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team struggled.

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Buemi dominates Monaco ePrix

Buemi dominates Monaco ePrix

Sebastien Buemi took his tenth Formula E career victory in Monaco, after a tense battle with di Grassi in the final laps.

It was an action-packed start for the Monaco ePrix, with Sebastien Buemi leading the field after starting from pole position around the iconic street circuit. The race would continue to be dominated by Buemi in his Renault e.Dams but also involved many fights for position in the points.

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From Mexico to Monaco: Formula E returns to the streets of Monte Carlo

From Mexico to Monaco: Formula E returns to the streets of Monte Carlo

The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship makes its way to Monte Carlo this weekend, just over a month since an action-packed ePrix around the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City. The Monaco ePrix will be the second time the series has raced around the principality, with the first visit to the iconic venue being during the first season of the championship in 2015. It was here Renault e.Dams driver Sebastien Buemi took his second win of the championship, becoming the first driver to win two rounds in the series over two years ago.

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