Abt had a Zoom stream in progress, but his face was blocked by a microphone or other equipment. “Please ask Daniel Abt to put on his Zoom the next time he drives, because as Stoffel said, I’m almost sure he wasn’t there,” said Jean-Eric Vergne, double Formula E champion
Formula E would have checked the IP addresses and understood that Abt could not drive. Rather, the 18-year-old professional player Lorenz Hoerzing, who takes part in the parallel series FE Challenge, had taken his place. Hoerzing has now been banned from the Race Challenge series and deprived of his sixth place in the FE Challenge companion race.
The Race at Home online challenge aims to keep drivers and fans engaged with Formula E during the COVID-19 lockdown, as the actual race has been suspended for the season. It is also designed to raise funds for UNICEF. Racers use rFactor2 simulation, with real Formula E and esports competitors who often race together. Formula E drivers must use standardized configuration and simulation software, while esports drivers have a little more leeway in terms of equipment.
“I would like to apologize to Formula E, to all the fans, to my team and to my fellow pilots for calling outside help during the race on Saturday,” Abt said in a statement. “I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I am particularly sorry about this because I know how much work has been put into this project by the Formula E organization. I am aware that my offense has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never intended with a bad intention. “