Audi links cost Frijns Andretti drive


Credit: Formula E

Robin Frijns says that he lost his drive at MS&AD Andretti because his links to Audi created a ‘difficult’ situation.

The Dutchman had driven for Andretti for two seasons before BMW announced that they were set to make the team a works outfit.

And with Frijns having a contract with Audi through his drive in the GT series, it meant that his future at the team was in doubt.

Team owner Michael Andretti had insisted that the conflict wouldn’t cost Frijns his drive, and that he would have the final say on drivers.

But that seems to have been an empty promise as Frijns admitted that his links to Audi led to him losing his drive.

“Definitely the team was really keen to keep me,” Frijns told Motorsport.com.

“Michael [Andretti] had my back, and the entire team – I had fun with Antonio and we worked well together, we were good teammates.

“It was going to be difficult with the situation I was in, being an Audi driver in GTs and being contracted by Andretti, not BMW.

“It’s going to be a full BMW works team. They will come with their own powertrain and software, and they want to see who is the one to have in the car within the BMW drivers.”

Co-team Principal at Andretti Roger Griffiths confirmed that the team had been keen to keep the Dutchman.

Griffiths told Motorsport.com, “We all really enjoyed working with Robin, he was a lot of fun and in terms of raw talent he is extremely quick – one of the quickest guys out there.

“There were some other complexities in the relationship that Robin has with Audi, and BMW is a big competitor.

“That really played into a lot of the direction of where the programme is going for the future.

“We certainly were supportive of keeping Robin within the team but it had to be a relationship that worked for everybody.”

When speaking of his future plans, Frijns now says that his goal is to drive for Audi in Formula E – although had BMW offered him to switch stables he said he would have considered it.

“I don’t want to be a reserve driver, I’ve been there in Formula 1 and it didn’t make really happy,” Frijns said.

“I’ve been with Audi for the last two years and the target is to be in Formula E with Audi. I like the brand, I feel comfortable. Why would I change?

“At a point halfway through last year, if BMW came along and said ‘We want you for Formula E for the next three years as a BMW driver’, then it was probably different, and I was probably in the car still. But that never happened.”