After seeing his team secure a dominant one-two finish at its home race in Berlin, Audi team principal Allan McNish says his first season leading the team has been like ‘being thrown in at the deep end’.
Following a return of just 11 points from the opening five races, McNish has overseen a remarkable turnaround with Audi team occupying second place in the team’s championship, and still have a mathematical chance of catching Techeetah.
After confirming yesterday that Berlin winner Daniel Abt has re-signed with the team, McNish talked about his own experiences this season and said the Berlin E-Prix to be ‘one of the best weekends’ of his career.
“At the beginning of the year, we knew we had performance in the car, and we knew we had performance in the team, but obviously for reasons that we all know, it didn’t quite work out that way,” said McNish.
“Berlin was a perfect scenario for us, being in Germany, just the way the whole weekend went for us with Daniel [Abt] being on pole, a German on pole, the television coverage being right in the middle of the two Germany cup finals, and a one-two with the fastest lap.
“A clean sweep of everything made everyone’s life a little bit easier on Monday morning to go home to the board and say ‘yeah, we did it!’.
Audi was the pre-season favourite to take both the team and drivers’ titles, but an inverter issue meant the team suffered from woeful reliability during the first half of the season.
After the FIA permitted the team to re-homologated its inverter design on reliability grounds, McNish says he is proud of how the team has been able to bounce back.
“I was very pleased and proud of how we all pulled it together,” said McNish. “If I think back to Santiago when Daniel got a hit on the first lap, and Lucas had a technical problem, we were sorting of scratching our heads.
“We were near the bottom of the championship then, but it’s been a massive turnaround.
“[Berlin] was probably one of the best weekends of my career, certainly as a team principal, no question.”
After being appointed to the role of team principal for Audi’s first full season as a works entry in Formula E, McNish says he has learned a lot personally and credits the team for sticking together when things weren’t going as planned.
“I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve known it as a driver,” said McNish.
“To deal with it on that side is one thing, but then you have to actually take the flack and make sure everyone stays motivated. It isn’t an easy job.
“We didn’t really have heads dropping; we had a lot of intensity to manage expectations in what were difficult times until we were able to do the homologation on the inverter. That was one thing, but really from there, you could see the strength and depth within the team.
“From a personal point of view, I’ve learned a hell of a lot. There’s no question about it. It’s like being thrown in at the deep end a little bit, but thankfully I had a life vest and some good swimmers around me.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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