Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been suspended from the outfit with immediate effect following the revelation that he used an e-sports driver in last weekend’s Race at Home Challenge event.
At last weekend’s virtual Berlin ePrix, Abt allowed professional sim racer Lorenz Hoerzing take place, who finished third on the road behind Britain’s Oliver Rowland and Mercedes-Benz EQ racer Stoffel Vandoorne.
The German was disqualified from the Berlin race and fined €10,000 by Formula E which will be donated to UNICEF who support the Race at Home Challenge. Over £50,000 has been raised for the charity so far.
Audi Sport said in a statement: “Daniel Abt did not drive his car in qualifying and the race at the fifth event of the Race at Home Challenge on May 23 himself, but let a professional Sim-Racer do so.
“He directly apologized for this on the following day and accepted the disqualification.
“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.
“For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.”
Meanwhile, Abt released a video statement reacting to the decision for the team to suspend him of all his duties as a Formula E Audi works driver.
Abt has been with the team since the series inauguration in 2014, including two race wins for the team at Mexico City and Berlin in 2018.
He has been one of only six stablemate drivers in the series since it began in September 2014, alongside his former team-mate Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, Jerome D’ Ambrosio and Sam Bird.
This is the latest driver controversy which has emerged from the e-sports scene since the coronavirus lockdown began and the most serious serious Nascar driver Kyle Larson’s outburst during a virtual racing event.
It is likely that this unfortunate incident has cost Abt any future in Formula E or with Audi as a brand despite the fact that he has only been formally suspended.
Pascal Wehrlein leads the Race at Home Challenge championship on 85 points after Abt’s disqualification, with Stoffel Vandoorne in second place on 78 points and winner of the first two events Maxmillian Gunther seven points further behind in third position.