Yesterday, I reported that Audi driver Daniel Abt had been suspended from his Formula E team, after getting someone else to race for him in a charity esports event. Well, now he’s been straight up fired by Audi because of the incident. Last night, he posted a 14-minute video explaining the situation. Abt said that the reason he got pro sim racer, Lorenz Hoerzing, to drive for him was because they wanted to “create a funny story for the fans.”
“We thought about how to make it happen, how to document it, and how to unwind it in a video afterwards,” he says. “It was never my intention to let another driver drive for me, to get a result and keep quiet about it later on.”
This may very well have been the case, but it shows a general disrespect for the esport, which is trying to act like the real thing while we’re all in lockdown. It also doesn’t help that he gives off a real ‘it’s just a video game’ vibe through the first half of his statement, suggesting he isn’t really that sorry for what he’s done.
(Note that his video is in German, so you’ll need to pop on those subtitles if that language isn’t in your repertoire.)
The first couple of minutes is just him explaining what the Race At Home Challenge is. For those that don’t know, it’s a series of races in rFactor 2 organised by Formula E for real-life racing drivers and esports drivers alike to compete, bringing races to fans where they otherwise wouldn’t be happening due to the pandemic. They stream the races most weekends, and raising money for Unicef while they’re at it.
“When looking back, we did not think enough about the seriousness and the consequences of the situation,” he says. “We made a huge mistake. I accept it and I will carry all the consequences for what I have done.”
And those consequences haven’t been light for Abt, who was disqualified from the race, advised to pay €10,000 (about £9000) to a charity of his choice, and ultimately fired by Audi.
“Today I was informed by Audi that our ways will split from now on. We won’t be racing together in Formula E anymore,” he continues.
“It was extremely important to me to take the chance here and now to tell you how it was and what happened, and to simultaneously apologize to my family, to my friends, to Audi, to my partners to Formula E, to Unicef, and of course to all fans who have supported me over the years.”