Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been dropped by the Audi Sport racing team after he admitted to having another esports player drive in his place. Abt finished third in the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, which many other drivers in the race deemed suspicious. Not only was it his best performance all year, but his face was also consistently blocked from full view by a piece of equipment throughout the livestream. The Race investigated the claims and discovered that due to the IP address of the driver, it was impossible for it to have been Apt behind the wheel.
Abt immediately admitted to the accusations and accepted a disqualification, along with a €10,000 donation to charity. In a statement, he reveals the genesis of the scheme, and the original intent which he insists was not cheating or to make himself look better. Abt describes coming up with the plan while practicing with other Sim racers, saying “the idea came up that it would be a funny move if a Sim racer basically drove for me to show other, real drivers, what he is capable of…” The plan was to document everything, then create and release a video about it after the fact. He goes on to admit that the plan went “too far” and that he neglected the seriousness of the competition.
Abt doubles down on this sentiment in an apology video released soon after. He asserts that Sim racing has “nothing in common” with real racing which is what he’s used to doing. His motivation for participating is to entertain the fans and raise money for The United Children’s Fund. He quickly realized that there were drivers who were taking the game seriously, namely Mercedes EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne who initially raised suspicions about his performance in Saturday’s race. Vandoorne took to Twitch to voice his displeasure, plainly declaring “that was not Daniel driving.”
Abt acknowledges where he went wrong and closes his statement saying “I would, of course, be extremely happy if you accepted my apology, supported me on my way in the future again and we will see each other again, soon.”