Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver Daniel Abt says being signed as a factory Audi driver in 2017 “verified” him after three seasons in Formula E.
Abt joined FE after two years in GP2 at 21-years-old and initially struggled to match his more experienced team-mate Lucas di Grassi, but has become a much closer rival in the past two seasons.
He believes that being retained after Audi took over the Abt Schaeffler team at the beginning of last season, in which he took his first win in the series, assisted in his performance boost.
“It’s always a bit of positives and negatives to drive for your own team. Of course people don’t take you too serious when you do that and always say you’re there for one reason: that it’s your dad or whatever,” he said.
“That kind of was gone at the point when Audi said they would continue because they had full control, they could decide whatever they want. They made their decision and we won races together and I think that helped get me out of all that talking.
“So I would say there’s a push that comes with it. Now I feel like I’m in a good place.
“It’s like being verified. I have a blue tick!”
Abt added that FE gave him a chance to rehabilitate and mature as a driver after a difficult tenure in GP2.
“When I started FE I came out of two years in GP2 that were almost killing my career to be honest. So I was really at the lowest point I could possibly be in. I kind of stopped believing in myself and I was really down.
“FE gave me the chance to build that back up. Of course it takes some time and you cannot go from zero to 100 in one day but I feel that I’ve just become better and better.
“Then I had Lucas, one of the strongest drivers as a team-mate, so we always get compared. It’s tough but I just try to work and work and get there.
“Last season I think we were the closest team-mates on the grid. We were equal in qualifying, of course we had different scenarios with races and stuff but in the end I think we were really close and that for me is a really good feeling. Now I am as confident as ever and I want to keep it like this.”