Bang effect for the Abt team: As “Motorsport-Total.com” learned from Audi circles, with head of operations and head of technology Florian Modlinger, an absolute cornerstone of the Audi top team from Kempten, which is currently involved in the DTM and the Extreme E series, is leaving participates. Modlinger will soon start work at Porsche – as the new overall project manager for Formula E.
How did the spectacular coup come about? Since Frenchman Pascal Zurlinden, the previous overall project manager for the Porsche factory programs, gave up his position for personal reasons, the Zuffenhausen-based company was looking for a replacement. Zurlinden, who used to hold various positions at Audi Sport in the DTM and knows about the capabilities of the Bavarian, is likely to have been involved in Modlinger’s involvement.
However, the decision was implemented by the new Porsche head of sport, Thomas Laudenbach, who can now claim his first success.
Due to the internal Porsche restructuring of the past few months, Modlinger will no longer be responsible for the entire works sport like Zurlinden before, but can concentrate fully on the Formula E project.
Urs Kuratle, who has Formula 1 experience in Switzerland, took on this role in the LMDh project at the end of 2021. In this way, the aim is to ensure that responsibility is spread over several shoulders, while Zurlinden was constantly traveling in the past because of the numerous projects.
What the loss means for Abbot
For the Abt team, the loss of Modlinger is a major setback: The 40-year-old, who joined the team from Kempten as head of technology in 2018 and also became head of operations in 2019, is considered one of the few engineers who have an all-round view and are well-versed in different areas .
Modlinger had previously worked directly for German manufacturers: in 2012 he was responsible for chassis performance and aerodynamics at the track during BMW’s successful comeback in the DTM. In 2013 he then switched to Audi Sport, where he acted as race engineer for Mattias Ekström in the DTM, before becoming test operations manager in 2014 and then also racing operations manager in 2016.
The next step in his career came in 2017 when he was promoted to DTM technical director at Audi Sport – and with all the DTM championship titles he achieved the greatest success in Modlinger’s career. After achieving his goal, he switched to the Abt team in 2018, where he was responsible for the factory projects DTM and Formula E and clinched a title in the team classification in each series.
Why Abbot Modlinger couldn’t hold
The fact that he is now docking directly with a manufacturer again with Porsche comes as only a limited surprise: Because of the end of the DTM as a manufacturers’ championship after the 2020 season and Audi’s exit from Formula E in 2021, Abt is no longer a works team these days.
You have to finance the GT3 project in the DTM yourself, apart from some factory support, and the Extreme E use is also privately funded, which means you have less budget available.
In addition, Modlinger is less able to demonstrate his skills with the homologated GT3 vehicles, where the only difference is the set-up, than with the Porsche project in Formula E, in which the new Gen3 car will be used for the first time at the end of 2022 comes. And thanks to his Formula E experience, he brings valuable know-how to Porsche, where he is expected to be on site in Saudi Arabia at the end of January for the season opener.
Apart from that, Formula 1 could also beckon as a perspective in the future, because Porsche is working intensively behind the scenes on entering the premier class of motorsport.