Abt leaves Audi Formula E team after esports deception
Daniel Abt has parted company with the Audi Formula E team after letting a professional gamer impersonate him in an official esports race.
RESENDING WITH UPDATED SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FORMULA-E VIRTUAL RACE AT HOME CHALLENGE SERIES WHICH AUDI'S DANIEL ABT HAS ADMITTED TO CHEATING IN.
RACE WON BY OLIVER ROWLAND, ABT'S CAR FINISHED THIRD / FILE STILLS OF ABT AFTER WINNING THE ACTUAL BERLIN E-PRIX IN 2018, THE SANTIAGO E-PRIX IN 2019 AND THE HONG KONG E-PRIX IN 2017 SHOWS: INTERNET / UNKNOWN LOCATIONS (MAY 23, 2020) (FORMULA E OPERATIONS LTD - ACCESS ALL) 1.
ABT AND OLIVER ROWLAND (NISSAN) STARTING MOVE TO OVERTAKE VANDOORNE LATER IN OPENING LAP 3.
ABT IN LEAD FOLLOWED BY ROWLAND IN 2ND PLACE AND VANDOORNE DOWN IN 3RD PLACE 4.
VANDOORNE OVERTAKING ROWLAND FOR 2ND PLACE ON LAP 2 5.
VANDOORNE HITTING THE BACK OF ABT AND THEN GETTING PAST FOR THE LEAD ON LAP 6 6.
ONBOARD ABT TRYING TO OVERTAKE VANDOORNE BUT THEY BOTH GO DEEP INTO TURN AND ROWLAND MAKES MOVE TO GET PAST BOTH OF THEM TO TAKE LEAD ON LAP 7 7.
ONBOARD REPLAY OF ROWLAND OVERTAKING BOTH ABT AND VANDOORNE FOR LEAD 8.
ROWLAND TAKING FINAL CORNER AND CROSSING
Class="kln">FINISH LINETO WIN RACE FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY VANDOORNE IN 2ND PLACE 9.
ABT FINISHING IN 3RD PLACE AND WEHRLEIN IN 4TH BERLIN, GERMANY (FILE - MAY 19, 2018) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 10.
STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AUDI'S DANIEL ABT CELEBRATING WINNING THE BERLIN E-PRIX 11.
STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ABT CELEBRATING WITH TROPHY SANTIAGO, CHILE (FILE - JANUARY 26, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 13.
STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ABT IN ACTION DURING THE SANTIAGO E-PRIX HONG KONG, CHINA (FILE - DECEMBER 3, 2017) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 14.
STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ABT ON PODIUM AFTER WINNING THE HONG KONG E-PRIX ALONGSIDE MAHINDRA'S FELIX ROSENQVIST AND VENTURI'S EDOARDO MORTARA STORY: Daniel Abt parted company with the Audi Formula E team on Tuesday (May 26) after letting a professional gamer impersonate him in an official esports race.
The manufacturer had earlier suspended the German driver after the weekend cheating controversy.
The 27-year-old denied seeking any sporting gain in Saturday's (May 23) fifth round of the all-electric series' virtual 'Race at Home Challenge' and said he had simply wanted "to create a funny story for the fans".
He said what happened had been openly discussed beforehand on his Twitch live stream in front of 1,000 followers and no money had changed hands.
Audi said in an earlier statement that "integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules" were top priorities.
The punishment, for something that happened in an online series designed to provide entertainment in the absence of real racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was seen as an over-reaction by some of Abt's track rivals.
Abt, Audi's first Formula E race winner, apparently finished third in Saturday's race on the virtual Berlin Tempelhof layout but rivals expressed doubts at the time about who was racing.
Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished second, felt something was amiss and tried to call Abt on his mobile without success.
The esports series features all of the regular Formula E drivers competing from home and visible in their simulators online, but Abt's face was hidden.
Organisers can check the IP addresses of competitors to ensure they are who they purport to be, with pro gamer Lorenz Hoerzing later revealed to be Abt's 'ringer' and barred from future involvement.
(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)