Audi broke the contract with Formula E driver Daniel Abt because he asked a professional virtual racer to replace him in the virtual race last weekend. Not only that, he also had to pay a fine of € 10 thousand. Abt confirmed this in a video. In the video, he also explained that the reason for asking Sim racer Lorenz Hoerzing to take his place was because he saw the virtual race as entertainment and not serious racing. Therefore, he felt, letting a sim racer become a jockey was a funny joke.
“We want to document all this and make funny stories for fans,” Abt said, as quoted by The Verge. He even included a video when he offered this idea to Hoerzing. He asked Hoerzing, whether the 18-year-old teenager wanted to replace him against other racers in a virtual race. “Let’s think about this plan carefully. This will be very funny, “Abt said.
Abt also revealed, he did not ask Hoerzing to replace him so he could win. From the start, he planned to announce his decision to ask Hoerzing as a jockey. Therefore, he does not use VPN to hide IP addresses from Hoerzing, which is in Austria. He blamed the media for directly accusing him of cheating without giving an opportunity to provide an explanation.
The series of virtual Formula E races began in April 2020. The virtual races were held with the aim of entertaining fans because all races had to be canceled amid the corona virus pandemic. In addition, the virtual race is also expected to be able to strengthen the relationship between the racers and their teams. Another goal is to raise charity funds.
However, Abt asked Hoerzing, who also took part in the race for sim racers from Formula E, to be the jockey in the virtual race. He even had time to ask someone to appear in front of the camera wearing a Audi red outfit under his name. It’s just that the person’s face is covered by a microphone. Throughout the race, Hoerzing – under the name Abt – managed to lead, though in the end, Oliver Rowland came out as champions. Hoerzing’s success provoked people’s suspicion, because in the previous race, Abt actually did not provide maximum performance.
In the end, Hoerzing came out third. That means, Abt should have appeared in interviews with Rowland, who won, and Stoffel Vandoorne, who was in second position. However, Abt did not appear. Vandoorne began to suspect whether Abt really took part in the race this time. He also discussed this on his personal Twitch channel. He even tried to call Abt, but the Audi driver did not answer. The organizer then succeeded in ensuring that Abt did not take part in the race based on Hoerzing’s IP address.
Abt apologized after he was caught red-handed. “I don’t see this race as something serious. “I apologize profusely because I know the hard work needed to realize this project as part of the Formula E race,” Abt said in an official statement.