The racer-turned-team principal Allan McNish admitted that a FIA Formula E Championship victory was out of sights until Mexico after a rather subdued start to 2017/18 season for Audi by its standards.
The German manufacturer were already down on points to Techeetah, Mahindra Racing, DS Virgin and Renault e.Dams until the Mexico ePrix despite Daniel Abt’s and Audi’s first victory of the 2017/18 season.
Audi had 40 points to leaders Techeetah’s 99, Mahindra’s 90, DS Virgin’s 70 and Renault’s 59 after the first five races which led McNish to believe that they would finish either fourth or fifth in the championship.
However, it was a crazy turnaround especially from Lucas di Grassi who finished the rest of the seven races not less than second which included two wins and five second place finishes. At the same time, Abt scored one win and two podiums in the period.
It meant, the German manufacturer eked out 224 points in those races when Techeetah scored 163, DS Virgin had 90, Renault 74 and Mahindra 48 – this turnaround helped Audi to win the teams’ title in the final race by two points over Techeetah.
“It feels superb, it feels absolutely superb,” started McNish. “In Mexico, I thought maybe we’d come fifth or fourth in the championship. Then there was the chance to get third, then second and then we set our stall out coming here, which was rather aggressive and we pulled it off.
“To be honest, that was one of the best fightbacks of my career. And I mean my career as a driver as well as my very short career as team principal. We were biting our nails all the way to the last corner and the final second of the race, but now it’s reality: Teams’ Champions,” he added.
For di Grassi, he scored 142 points in the seven races to finish second in the drivers’ standings behind Techeetah’s Jean-Eric-Vergne, thereby beating title contender DS Virgin’s Sam Bird by one point, after only scoring two points in the first five races.
“It shows that in Formula E, you need to do the job all around to make it happen,” said di Grassi. On my side, that’s exactly what we did. We were nowhere in the first races, we made mistakes but the car was already fast.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle – I’m very, very happy. It still turned out to be an exceptional season for me and also our team. We never give up and winning the teams’ title after such an incredible comeback is the best proof of this,” he added.
His teammate Abt finished fifth in the standings with 120 points after he was beaten to fourth by five points by Renault’s Sebastien Buemi – the German driver still took double Formula E wins in the season, in which he scored his maiden race win.