Returning Nico Mueller: “I still feel like I’ve got a point to prove”

With the help of Spanish automaker CUPRA, ABT Sportsline have returned to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with one of their drivers believing they have a “point to prove”, with ABT having gone for a duo they know incredibly well.

For Season Nine of the all-electric series and the start of Gen3, the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team have signed their old DTM line-up of Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller, marking somewhat of a reunion.

For Mueller, it’s not only a reunion with ABT but a reunion with Formula E, after competing in the championship for the entirety of Season Six and the first half of Season Seven. In the COVID-19 affected Season Six, the Swiss driver raced for GEOX Dragon, whilst in Season Seven he competed for Dragon/Penske Autosport. His best result in the series to-date is a second place finish at the Season Seven Valencia E-Prix, proving he knows what it takes to perform in the championship.

Mueller is pleased to be back in the championship after taking a “short break” in 2022, and believes that Season Nine is the “right time for a comeback”. Looking ahead to the season, Mueller is expecting his team to be the “underdog”, with the side prepared to “play that role to the maximum extent possible”.

“Obviously, ABT is back as a team and I’m also back after a short break as a driver,” Mueller told fiaformulae.com.

“To come back as a group, together with Robin, is exciting and very motivating as the team has such a successful history in the championship.

“I still feel like I’ve got a point to prove and it’s the right time for a comeback with Gen3 starting out in Season 9 and we’ve picked the ideal timing to return. Talking about goals now is difficult. It’s very hard to put a perspective on things and gauge where we’re at compared to everybody else – everyone is starting from blank sheet of paper. 

“Valencia was the first time we got together on track and we got to see all the other teams and drivers sharing a circuit. We were able to get a bit of a feel for our performance and what it might look like. We have to be realistic, though and there are some very strong, very big teams we’re going up against.

“We’ll be kind of an underdog but I think if there’s a smaller, leaner team that can put pressure on the biggest operations, then it is us. We’re going to try and play that role to the maximum extent possible and hopefully make it a success.”

Robin Frijns & Nico Muller - DTM Series - 2019 Lausitzring
Above: Robin Frijns (left) and Nico Mueller (right) – Credit: DTM

On the other side of the ABT CUPRA garage for Season Nine, Frijns has made the switch from Envision Racing to partner up with his former DTM team and team-mate, a relationship which could benefit the outfit’s development in 2023.

After spending four years racing for Envision, Frijns is pleased to be returning to a side he’s “loved from day one”, with the team being “like a huge family”.

Whilst there might be a family feel in the team, they do have some issues to sort with their Gen3 challenger looking ahead to the season opener in Mexico City. Pre-season testing saw the team discover that they “might struggle” at the start of the new season, with the aim being to “be more sorted” with their package by the midway point of the year.

“I’ve known ABT for quite some time,” Frijns told fiaformulae.com.

“I drove with them in DTM together with Nico (Mueller), so I’m happy to be back with the team – it’s one I’ve loved from day one,” says the 31-year-old. “It’s like a huge family and I’m happy to be part of it.

“The car is still quite new, so we have those little ‘diseases’ which we need to try and solve. So, I think at the beginning of the season you’ll see people working with and trying to solve and improve their issues. The ones that have their car in order will be the team to beat. We might struggle a bit at the beginning we might struggle a bit given the issues we’re having at the moment [as of testing in Valencia]. But, I think half way through the season we will be more sorted and hopefully we can score some good points.”