Alejandro Agag has stood by Formula E’s Fanboost system after Daniel Abt accused others of cheating the voting system to ensure certain drivers won it.
Fanboost allows fans to choose three drivers to receive an extra 100kJ of energy in the race, with voting allowed through twitter and the Formula E app.
The system has been criticised several times in the past for being a gimmick, and has proven to be ineffectual with regards to helping drivers pull off overtaking manoeuvres.
And Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver Daniel Abt said in a blog to his fans this week that he had been told that the voting was rigged thanks to a flood of anonymous votes coming in from China the night before a race.
Abt even went as far as calling it a ‘catastrophe’, saying “There are some drivers who manage to cheat a bit.
“I’m not saying it because I’m a sore loser, I’m saying it because I know it – somebody told me about it. Definitely there’s something wrong.
“We were in front [in the Fanboost poll prior to the Santiago ePrix] the whole time, but suddenly some drivers get a lot of votes overnight.
“Strangely, all the votes are from 12 cities in China. They must have an awesome fanbase there.
“Formula E knows about it, but they can’t do anything because they cannot prove it properly. This is a catastrophe. I was getting really upset about it.”
So far Abt has received the Fanboost in every race prior to Santiago, where it was rewarded to Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez.
In his response Agag said it was understandable that the drivers who are usually at the front of the grid win more votes, with Lopez making the top three thanks to him racing near his native Argentina.
“It’s not surprising the drivers with the most Fanboost votes are some of the better known names, or those fighting for wins and championships such as Buemi, Vergne, di Grassi or Piquet,” Agag said.
“Fans usually tend to vote for the drivers in the fight at the front, wanting to influence the podium picture.
“It’s also interesting how voting changes between drivers when visiting the different countries we race in.
“Lopez was the star in Santiago because of his South American origin, as much as Filippi was in Hong Kong for its ties with the Chinese NIO team.”
Agag also refuted claims that Fanboost could be rigged, stressing the steps the series had taken to avoid abuse of the system.
He said, “The Fanboost voting system is constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure user verification and credible results.
“We’ve continued to improve the system since it was implemented in the first-ever season of Formula E, adding further layers of authentication to the voting process following suggestions from the teams.
“Well over a million fans have voted for their favourite driver and we see this number growing as the popularity of the series increases.
“The system is very reliable and drivers shouldn’t waste time in questioning the validity of Fanboost.”