FIA’s Formula E championship is due to bring in some big names over the next two years, as Audi and BMW join the ranks. The German manufacturers broke earlier this week.
Audi – 2017/18 Season
First up, Audi will be bringing a works team to this year’s competition. The group has been involved in Formula E since its inception but this will be the first attempt at running its own team. Audi has been assisting Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport but from this year, the team will flip the name to Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler. It’s a subtle name change that highlights this is a works team and not simply sponsored by the manufacturer.
The current Formula E season is still ongoing, but Audi Sport will make its debut at the Hong Kong Formula E season opener on December 2. The Abt Schaeffler team still has races remaining in New York and Montreal to close out the 2016/17 season.
BMW – 2018/19
The BMW i Series has signaled the manufacturer’s intent to embrace electric power. From tiny road cars like the i3 to the sporty i8, BMW hasn’t shied away from the technology. Now, the group will be enforcing this with a full works team in Formula E starting from 2018/19.
Taking over from MS Amlin Andretti, BMW will extend its position as technology partner to full factory ownership of the team. BMW believes participation will enhance the road-going efforts of the firm alongside its motorsport presence. Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, had this to say:
“The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project. The result is a technology transfer on a whole new level. We are certainly confident that the BMW Group will benefit greatly from the experience gained in the field of electrotechnology during this project.”
Although the team won’t be competing until 2018/19, Formula E appears to be going from strength to strength. Audi and BMW join other manufacturers like Jaguar and Renault by bringing a first-party team to the championship.
We look forward to the latest developments for both teams. If you’re interested in the series finale for Formula E in 2016/17, there are four remaining races:
- New York City – 15th July 2017
- New York City – 16th July 2017
- Montreal – 29th July 2017
- Montreal – 30th July 2017
The Formula E website has a handy guide here to see where you can watch in your country.