Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler has suspended driver Daniel Abt from all competitions with immediate effect following controversy in the latest round of Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge esports series.
In the fifth round of the online championship, Abt employed a sim-racer to compete in his place and as such, upon discovery and admission, was disqualified from the race, stripped of all points, and forced to pay a mandatory €10,000 donation to series partner UNICEF.
In a statement issued by Audi AG this afternoon, the German marque confirmed that Abt has been suspended from “all activities” as a result of his actions with immediate effect, with this essentially ending his long-term association with the brand:
“Daniel Abt did not drive his car in qualifying and the race at the fifth event of the Race at Home Challenge on May 23 himself, but let a professional Sim-Racer do so,” read the statement.
“He directly apologized for this on the following day and accepted the disqualification. Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules are top priorities for Audi – this applies to all activities the brand is involved in without exception. For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.”
Abt has been part of Audi’s Formula E entry since the series’ inception in 2014 and is one of three drivers alongside team-mate Lucas di Grassi and Sam Bird to contest every race of the championship to date.
Holding two victories from the Mexico City and Berlin E-Prix of Season 4, Abt’s suspension will require Audi to find a replacement should the 2019/20 campaign continue later this year.
Long-term test driver and current GEOX Dragon racer Nico Muller was a candidate to replace Abt for Formula E’s present Season 6 campaign, while Kelvin van der Linde and Mattia Drudi recently represented Audi in March’s Marrakesh test.