Audi have confirmed that they will be taking over the Formula E entry of Abt from the start of next season.
The German manufacturer has been supporting the Abt Schaeffler Audi team since the inaugural season of the championship, and recently increased their participation in the sport by allowing the team to use their facilities and by providing more financial and technical support.
But the German manufacturer confirmed that they will formally take over their entry slot on the grid for the 2017-18 season, with the team being renamed Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler.
The move comes as a number of other car manufacturers have entered the sport, with Renault, Jaguar, BMW and DS all having increased their involvement in recent years.
And in light of this interest, Abt driver Lucas di Grassi has called for Audi to increase their involvement to ensure that the team remained competitive.
That call has now been answered, and current team owner Hans-Jurgen Abt said that the team’s future competitiveness was one of the reasons behind the deal.
“We’re proud that as one of the founding members we’ve added a chapter to motorsport’s history books,” Abt said.
“Within the space of just a few years, Formula E has seen such a strong development that a team can no longer be competitive without the backing of an automobile manufacturer.
“That’s why we’re gladly handing over the reins to Audi – a partner we’ve been successfully cooperating with in motorsport and routine business for many decades. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to continue this success story in Formula E as well.”
Head of Audi Motorsport, Dieter Gass, said that he was glad to see the deal finalised, and that progress was already well underway on the new powertrain for season four.
“We’re currently seeing an extremely exciting season with a gripping title race. I’m happy that now everything has been put on track for a successful future too.
“We’ve already successfully completed tests with the new components in Spain and in Neuburg and our project is on schedule. At the moment, the freedom in Formula E granted to all manufacturers is limited to the motor, transmission, the respective suspension components and to software.
“The competitiveness in Formula E between manufacturers, teams and drivers is enormous. That makes details in the development all the more crucial.”
Abt are currently sitting second in the team’s championship, 58 points behind Renault e.dams.