Abt boss accepts failed team order call in Berlin Formula E race

Abt Audi Sport owner Hans-Jurgen Abt says he accepts his son Daniel's failure to complete a team order to let Lucas di Grassi past in Formula E's Berlin ePrix

Abt boss accepts failed team order call in Berlin Formula E race

Championship leader Di Grassi started the race in eighth and had worked his way up to third with more energy remaining than his rivals after running a lap longer in the first stint.

That put him behind team-mate Abt before a late safety car emerged, and as racing resumed with two laps to go Abt was ordered to let him past.

Di Grassi: I'd rather lose the title than use team orders

Abt gesticulated to let di Grassi past on the start-finish straight as they prepared to start the final lap, but retained the position.

Di Grassi did not get another chance to take the place, and it means his championship lead over Sebastien Buemi heading to the London season finale is one point instead of four.

"Daniel gave him space, maybe he [di Grassi] doesn't recognise it and we have to accept it," Abt Sr told Autosport.

"Daniel knows he can help the championship. He tried to do it. To do it again at the last corner was tricky.

"With [Nicolas] Prost there [in fourth] if you make a mistake at the last corner you look not so good.

"And it's fair with Daniel, this time he did a really great job.

"That's why I'm not unhappy, and we have to accept what we did."

Di Grassi told Autosport after the race that he would rather lose the championship because of those missed points than have forced Abt to hand over a career-best FE result.

Hans-Jurgen said such a title defeat would be a difficult scenario but agreed with his driver that integrity was important to protect.

"If we lose it by three points maybe the team is not good enough," he said.

"But we showed people fair motorsport and I think people will like it more."

AUTOSPORT SAYS

Both Abt drivers deserve credit for handling the post-race press inquest immaculately. It was a perfect lesson in how to react maturely in a high-pressure situation.

As team-order rows go, this is more of a storm in a teacup than anything else.

Though it may seem odd to hear Abt Sr talk of "fair motorsport" when there was a clear request to swap positions, di Grassi was better placed to attack Buemi after the safety car and that, allied to the championship situation, meant it was natural to request Abt to move aside.

But he was only asked once, he did seem to genuinely try to urge di Grassi past and, most importantly, di Grassi was not made aware of the request (and says he specifically asked pre-race for it not to happen).

There was an attempt to manipulate the result, but it was not covert and it made sense to try.

We'll see team orders more rigidly imposed and followed in London, that is for sure.

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Series Formula E
Drivers Daniel Abt
Teams Team Abt
Author Scott Mitchell
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