Like most sports, Formula E events had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization turned to virtual races using some of its drivers. Saturday’s Formula E “Race At Home Challenge” supported UNICEF and brought in drivers from around the world for the cause.
Abt officially finished third, but second-place winner Stoffel Vandoorne accused him of not actually being the one taking part in the match, according to The Race.
“Really not happy here because that was not Daniel driving the car himself, and he messed up everything. Really ridiculous,” Vandoorne said on his Twitch stream after the race.
Abt’s face on his Zoom feed was obscured by equipment, and he didn’t do any post-race interviews.
The Race reports that the Formula E organizers cross-referenced IP addresses and found that Abt was not behind the wheel of his racing simulator cockpit during the match. Professional simulation racer Lorenz Hoerzing took his place during the match, and Formula E banned Hoerzing from the “At Home Challenge.”
Formula E required Abt to make a “compulsory donation” of €10,000 to a charity, and he issued an apology Sunday morning.
“I would like to apologize to Formula E, all of the fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday. 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 organization,” Abt said. “I am aware that my offense has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention. Of course, I accept the disqualification from the race. In addition, I will donate 10,000 euros to a charitable project.”