Abt and Audi respond to the Formula E Esports scandal

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Following his involvement in an Esports scandal, Audi Formula E team has issued a statament, explaining the reason why it has felt necessary to cut ties with Daniel Abt.

Audi fired Daniel Abt from its Formula E operation after learning that the German driver asked a professional sim driver to drive for him in the series’ official virtual competition. The last round of the „Race at Home Challenge” was staged last weekend when Abt tapped the professional sim racer Lorenz Hoerzing to take his virtual seat.

The 18-year-old came in third in the race which was meant to entertain fans and raise funds for UNICEF.

In response to the incident, the German automaker has decided to axe Abt, arguing that rules must also be respected in the virtual world. “Daniel Abt, after six years and 63 races, will no longer drive for Audi in Formula E,” the Audi statement read.

“With Daniel, we celebrated great success and made enormous strides with Formula E. We are thankful for our time together and look back on it proudly. However, integrity, transparency, and consistent compliance with applicable rules, especially with regards to the past, are top priorities for us at Audi.

“We stand by our culture of tolerating mistakes. However, the incidents that took place during the ‘Race at Home Challenge’ sim racing series were not a mistake, but a conscious decision to go against the rules. That is what makes the big difference for us. Therefore, unfortunately, we had no other alternative than suspending Daniel Abt.”

It is believed that René Rast has emerged as a potential replacement for Daniel Abt. The former Porsche SuperCup champion has scored two DTM titles with Audi.

Just a „funny story”

The 27-year-old German driver whose biggest championship result was his second place with Lotus GP in the GP3 series in 2012 insists that he never had the intention to cheat or mislead his rivals or fans. The Kempten-born said that he only wanted to create a „funny story”, stressing he wanted to make it clear that a professional Esports driver sat behind the wheel.

„When we were practicing for this Race at Home Challenge on a Twitch stream, we had a conversation and the idea came up that it would be a funny move if a sim racer basically drove for me to show the other, real drivers what he is capable of and uses the chance to drive against them. We wanted to document it and create a funny story for the fans with it."

The former ADAC Formel Masters champion has acknowledged that he has made a mistake, but he intends to come back stronger.

"This virtual delict of mine has real consequences for me because today I was informed in a conversation with Audi that our ways will split from now on. It's a pain which I have never felt in this way in my life.”

"At the end, there is only to say: you make mistakes in life. I feel like I couldn't fall any deeper. I'm on the ground but I'll get up again."