Daniel Abt: Audi sack Formula E driver for esports cheating

Britta Pedersen

German Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been disqualified and fined from the ABB Race At Home Challenge after recruiting the help of a professional gamer.

The Race at Home Challenge is Formula E's online competition created to give fans and drivers access to racing during COVID-19 lockdown measures. He has been forced to make a donation to charity of 10,000 Euros (around £8,900).

"It was extremely important to me to take the chance here and now to tell you how it was and what happened and to simultaneously apologize to my family, to my friends, to Audi, to my partners, to Formula E, to UNICEF and of course to all fans, who have supported me over the years, with all of my heart".

"There were drivers taking it seriously who put a lot of time on the simulators", said Abt, adding he wanted a young sim racer "to show the other, real, drivers what he is capable of".

Abt did have a Zoom feed going, but his face was blocked by a microphone or other equipment.

In Berlin, the No. 66 Audi had its best showing by-far since the Race at Home Challenge kicked off, qualifying second and leading for a spell ahead of Mercedes' Stoffel Vandoorne and eventual victor Oliver Rowland.

It's not known whether Formula E itself, or Abt's Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team will take any further action.

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"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.

Abt won a real world race on the same circuit in 2018 and has been successfully racing Formula-E since its creation in 2014.

Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished second, felt something was amiss and tried to call Abt on his mobile without success. "I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention".

In the statement, Abt explained his reasoning for bringing in the pro gamer, claiming that he didn't seek any personal or financial gain in the incident.

"Today I was informed in a conversation with Audi that our ways will split from now on", Abt said, according to a translation of the video message.

"When we were practicing for this Race at Home challenge on a Twitch stream, we were communicating to them through an online program". We discussed sim racing, we drove together, and had fun. "We made a huge mistake there".

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