A very stupid cheating scandal has emerged from last weekend’s virtual Formula E events, as Audi Sport driver Daniel Abt was caught subbing in an esports pro to drive in his place. Let’s make that ex-Audi driver, as Audi Sport have suspended him, with The Race reporting that this is in fact a prelude to him being sacked.
Abt was disqualified from the Formula E race over the weekend, after pro esports racer Lorenz Hoerzing took his place and drove to a third place finish at the virtual Berlin Tempelhof circuit. Abt was also slapped with a €10,000 mandatory donation to a charity of his choice, while Hoerzing was barred from future events in virtual Formula E races for esports drivers.
Up until this point Abt had been languishing at the back of the virtual grid, so to see him suddenly at the front was a bit of a surprise, and with his webcam feed unavailable, other drivers questioned whether or not he was actually there. Second place finisher Stoffel Vandoorne said, “Really not happy here because that was not Daniel driving the car himself, and he messed up everything. That was ridiculous.” Meanwhile, two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne (who’s also been at the back of the virtual grid) stated that Abt should ensure his video feed it turned on for subsequent events so they could be sure he was actually racing. The cheating was eventually confirmed by Formula E officials checking the IP address details.
Now, Audi have released an official statement to announce the suspension, and effective sacking of their driver:
Daniel Abt did not drive his car in qualifying and the race at the fifth event of the Race at Home Challenge on May 23 himself, but let a professional sim racer do so.
He directly apologised for this on the following day and accepted the disqualification.
Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules are top priorities for Audi – this applies to all activities the brand is involved in without exception.
For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.
The Race report that Abt’s current contract with Audi is believed to run until July – the Formula E championship typically runs from November/December through to July – having been renewed on a yearly basis, so it’s entirely possible that Audi will simply let his contract expire.
This is another case of swift action from a team looking to preserve the integrity of their team brand and the value that they present to their sponsors in these trying times. That said, it’s still a shame that a driver who has been a mainstay of the Formula E grid since its very first race has seemingly been booted out of the sport as a whole.
Source: The Race