Audi suspends Daniel Abt after he cheated in an online race
Naughty, naughty! Audi's Formula-E racer enlisted a pro-gamer to race under his name
With no real-life electric car racing likely to take place for at least the next couple of months, since mid-April Formula-E has been hosting official online races as part of its ‘Race at Home Challenge’. And things are getting spicy…
These races are contested by proper Formula-E drivers – the very same blokes who’d be racing for real had the series not been put on hold – using the rFactor2 PC sim, and taken just as seriously as the real thing. The fifth round took place last weekend – Nissan E-Dams driver Oliver Rowland won, Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne finished second and Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt third.
Only all was not as it seemed. After the race, a number of drivers alleged Abt had not actually been in control of his #66 Audi. His second-place in qualifying and third-place finish were by far his best results yet – until this weekend he hadn’t qualified higher than ninth, and his best race result was 15th. Moreover, Abt didn’t partake in post-race interviews, and though his webcam had been on during the race, his face was obscured.
Then the truth emerged – Abt wasn't driving. He had enlisted a professional sim-racer called Lorenz Hoerzing to race in his car, under his name. On Sunday Abt, who’s been a Formula-E driver since 2014, was disqualified, stripped of his points and ordered to pay a €10,000 euro fine to charity.
In a statement, the German apologised: “I did not take it as seriously as I should have. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention.”
And now Abt has been full-on suspended by Audi Sport, meaning he could well lose his seat when real-life racing eventually resumes. Blimey. He's promised a statement this evening.
Meanwhile Hoerzing has been barred from the ‘Race at Home Challenge’ – he was officially competing (as himself) in the ‘Challenge’ grid, which is made up of esports racers and run alongside the main event.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Look out for your regular round-up of news, reviews and offers in your inbox.
Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.