He didn’t think it was serious, but the consequences definitely were.
Audi Sport Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been suspended from the team after having another driver secretly take his place during a charity online simulation race. Abt was competing in the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge series that is being held to help raise funds for UNICEF while real-world racing is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The German had finished third in the race, which took place on a virtual version of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport street circuit, when second-place finisher Stoffel Vandoorne called him out on Twitch for not driving the car himself. Motorsport.com reported.
It was later discovered that professional Esports driver Lorenz Hoerzing had competed in Abt’s stead.
“I would like to apologize to Formula E, all of my fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday,” Abt said. “I did not take it as seriously as I should have. I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organization.
Abt was fined 10,000 pounds by the electric racing series, which he will pay to his charity of choice, and put on suspension by Audi Sport.
"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,” the team said.
According to Motorsport.com, the team is expected to release Abt from the team entirely, but this has not yet been confirmed.
The incident is one of several mishaps that have occurred this year as racing series have turned to online events while their seasons are on hiatus. NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace lost a major sponsor after "rage quitting" a race in April, while Kyle Larson was suspended from NASCAR and fired by Chip Ganassi racing for using a racial slur during a live stream of an event he was competing in.