Who are the favorites in the title race this season from your point of view?
“That’s hard to answer in Formula E – especially before this season. I have very strong expectations of Renault and Mahindra. At the same time, we should have Virgin, Andretti and Jaguar on our radar as well. There are at least five or six teams in contention for winning races. In addition, in André Lotterer, Edoardo Mortara and Kamui Kobayashi there’ll be some strong new drivers, so it’s near-impossible to make any predictions. The only thing we can be sure of is that this will be the hardest fought season in Formula E history to date.”
What does contesting the season with number one displayed on your car mean to you?
“It’s a good feeling because it shows that we did a good job last season and achieved something exceptional. You don’t get points for that in the new season, but it’s tremendous motivation to give everything again for success.”
Now that São Paulo, Brazil, is on the Formula E calendar we probably don’t need to ask about your favorite race …
“The race in São Paulo makes a dream come true for me. The city is my home and my whole family and my friends are going to be at the race. Still, there are other cities I very much look forward to – such as Rome and Zurich. With new attractive race locations and new manufacturers Formula E is experiencing a real boom at the moment. For me it’s already the second-most relevant racing series after Formula 1. It meets all the prerequisites for further growth in the future.”
In a few days, you’ll be traveling to Hong Kong. How much are you looking forward to the event?
“We’re looking forward to the new Formula E season opener with huge anticipation. We worked hard in the last few months to put another car on the grid that’ll be in contention for victory. The transition from an Audi-supported team to a full-fledged factory-backed commitment was exciting and went smoothly. Now we’re wishing for a good weekend in Hong Kong – preferably with as much success as the one we ended last season with.”
How did you spend the summer break since the Formula E season finale?
“Directly after the finale in July, there were a lot of PR commitments that I wouldn’t describe as work, though. It was nice to see how great international interest in Formula E and in our title win was. Shortly afterwards, the first tests and the work with the engineers and in the simulator started. Particular highlights for me were the two races I contested for Audi during the summer break: the legends race in the Audi Sport TT Cup at Hockenheim and the participation in the GT World Cup in Macau.”
Again at the very top of the wish list of many footballers, including Gareth Bale, Luka Modrić and Casemiro, is the Audi Q7 (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.6–7.2; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 199–189). 14 players in total selected the premium SUV, three of them the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid model (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.9–1.8; combined electricity consumption in kWh/100 km: 19.0–18.1; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 50–48). Popular as well are the sporty RS models. Coach Zinédine Zidane opted for the Audi RS 6 Avant (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.6; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 223), Cristiano Ronaldo and Keylor Navas for the Audi RS 7 Sportback (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221). Captain Sergio Ramos will be driving an Audi R8 Spyder (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5–11.7; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292–277).
Before the handover of the company cars, the football stars performed a virtual test drive in the Audi e-tron FE04. The fully electric race car will have its first official outing at the Formula E season opener in Hong Kong (December 2/3). In addition to the players from Real Madrid, a number of fans qualified for a lap in the race simulator before the handover as well. Dani Carvajal finished as the fastest driver on the circuit inside the replica Formula E cockpit simulator.
Audi has been partnering with Real Madrid since the summer of 2003. The club won three of the most recent four Champions League titles and in 2017 was the first team to even defend the title in the premier competition.
The two new Audi on demand sites are the Audi Tsim Sha Tsui and Audi Admiralty showrooms in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. From here all customers can now flexibly make use of cars equipped with exclusive features – ranging from compact cars to SUV, as well as high-performance models from Audi Sport. “With Audi on demand we are meeting our customers’ new needs and responding to the extreme scarcity of parking spaces in Hong Kong,” said Lothar Korn, Managing Director of Audi Hong Kong. “Beginning immediately, customers in Hong Kong can enjoy using the Audi model of their choice, with great flexibility and at the push of a button. Whenever they desire, and regardless of the destination they have in mind.”
They can use their smartphones to book the model they want or reserve it in advance for time periods lasting from one hour to a month. An Audi on demand agent hands over their chosen car and explains its features and functions. Customers pay online via credit card. The service is billed on an hourly basis at an all-inclusive rate. This includes unlimited driving mileage, full insurance coverage, fuel and 24-hour customer service.