For those who aren’t aware, Formula E is a single seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars.
Formula E has steadily gained fame globally since it’s conception in 2011 by Jean Todt at the FIA. Racing takes place on temporary city centre street circuits which are 1.9 to 3.4 km long.
Due to the current lockdown though and the fact that most motorsports are experiencing a hiatus for the moment, Formula E has been organising “Race at Home Challenge” online races to support charities such as UNICEF. Five races have already been organised and four of them were a great success.
Cue professional driver Daniel Abt, A German driver who has competed in such races as The German Formula Three Championships, the GP3 series, GP2 series and has won the 2009 ADAC Formel Masters championship. He is currently a contender in the Formula E with the ABT Schaeffer Audi Sport racing team.
On Saturday’s fifth installment of the virtual race Abt was caught cheating as he had allegedly hired a stand-in driver to race for him. He apparently had scored zero points in the first four races and then on the fifth race he finished on the podium. The suspicion initially came from fellow racing driver and the driver to take second place in the race, Mercedes Formula E driver, Stoffel Vandoorne.
The organisers then ran a thorough enquiry on Abt and found these suspicions to be true.
Abt had indeed hired Lorenz Hoerzing who is a professional simulation racer to drive in the virtual race for him.
The suspicion came after Abt was performing better than usual and that the face of the driver pretending to be Abt was being hidden by equipment after his Twitch stream had stopped working.
Jean-Eric Vergne was heard to have said during the race: “Please ask Daniel Abt to put his Zoom next time he’s driving, because like (fellow driver) Stoffel (Vandoorne) said I’m pretty sure he wasn’t in.”
Abt has fully accepted his disqualification from the race as well as the entire series and had issued a public apology to his fans and the organisers of the event stating: “I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I’m especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention.”
One competitor took it more lightly than others though.
Fellow driver Felix da Costa was quoted as saying, “It’s just a game guys. We all know Daniel as a fun guy and a joker.”
This incident just serves to prove that among others, Abt doesn’t particularly take virtual racing seriously, although I’m sure his intentions were not to offend anyone.
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