Audi wants to give Abt FE chance because his name is 'disadvantage'

Audi wanted to give Daniel Abt the chance to prove he deserves to be in its Formula E team because it believes his name has been a "disadvantage"

Audi wants to give Abt FE chance because his name is 'disadvantage'

Abt has been elevated to factory Audi driver status after being announced alongside champion Lucas di Grassi for Audi's first season as a fully-fledged works entrant in FE.

It will be the driver pairing's fourth consecutive campaign together, after three seasons with the Audi-affiliated Abt team owned by Daniel's father Hans-Jurgen.

The younger Abt has faced criticism during his FE career that his place in the team has only been secured because of his father's position.

Asked if Abt gets unfair criticism because of his name, Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass told Autosport: "The last name is not necessarily an advantage. It's rather a disadvantage.

"People look at you a different way.

"It's one more reason we have done it the way we have, to give him the chance to show his potential in an Audi-run operation.

"It's becoming obvious to everybody he's not there because he's the son of the team owner."

Why Audi has to treat FE like Le Mans

Last season Abt finished eighth in the championship and trailed title winner di Grassi by 114 points, but had four races in which he failed to finish in the points through mitigating circumstances.

He also finished seventh after charging through the field from 18th in Mexico City, where he should have started from pole but for a tyre pressure error from the team.

Other strong performances included finishing seventh from 16th in Buenos Aires and fourth from 11th in Montreal.

"He had a very unlucky season," said Gass. "He did show his potential and he was let down technically on quite a few occasions.

"If you choose a driver you have to look at the overall picture and he's been involved in the programme from day one and he's shown his potential.

"We felt it was worth giving him a proper run with the factory operation."

Abt admitted that "there was a time when I was quite uncertain" he would stick with the team as it morphed into Audi's works entry.

He told Autosport: "Of course you always get looked at different when your name's in the team.

"[Now] it adds extra pressure, more positive pressure, being with Audi.

"For the moment I'm just really happy. We have to push like crazy and be on top first race."

Di Grassi believes the German "more than deserved" to join Audi's roster of works drivers.

"He has to prove himself, have good results, win races - he has the capability to do that," he told Autosport.

"I would see very few drivers in or out of FE who would be able to deliver more than Daniel in the first year because of his experience.

"Now he has to prove he can deliver if he doesn't have bad luck."

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