Daniel Abt will replace Ma Qing Hua for the remainder of Formula E’s Season 6 campaign at NIO 333 as the Chinese racer sits grounded as a result of travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Abt, who holds two E-Prix victories to his name, previously represented Audi in the championship, however, was dismissed from the team following his Race at Home Challenge esports ringer plot in May, in which he hired sim-racer Lorenz Hoerzing to race in his place as part of a failed joke.
With his six-race deal with NIO 333, Abt will partner Oliver Turvey in Formula E’s six race showdown which will take place this August, in which the 2019/20 campaign will reach its conclsuion following a five-month suspension.
“I take full responsibility for what happened in the Race at Home Challenge – it was a mistake,” said Abt.
“I have no hard feelings towards anyone, and now is the time for me to look forward and get back to what I love most – racing. I just want to do the best I can for the team and help us have a good finish to the season.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity, and the trust, that NIO 333 is placing in me. The chance to race the final six races of the season – my home races – and continue my record of competing in every round to-date in Formula E is very exciting.”
As one of the most experienced competitors in Formula E – one of only three drivers to start every E-Prix in the series’ six seasons – Abt holds a strong racing record in Berlin, winning the Season 4 event in dominant fashion while also taking pole position and the fastest lap.
“Berlin is a great place for me,” he continued. “I have great memories there and a home race is always something special. I’ll miss the fans but I’m sure those watching from home will see some exciting races.
“I want to finish Season 6 on a high and we will see what the future brings. I have competed in every race in Formula E’s history and have worked with a leading manufacturer for the last three years.
“I have a lot of experience and a lot to give the team. I will do everything I can to achieve results together with Oliver [Turvey].”
Alongside Ma’s absence from the Berlin finale, NIO 333 also confirmed that Chinese members of the team will be absent from the raced held at Tempelhof, although this not expected to impact the team in a major way.
The NIO 333 outfit currently occupies last place in the Teams’ Championship as the only squad that has failed to finish in the top 10 thus far.
With the signing of Abt, NIO 333 CEO Vincent Wang is confident that points will be possible for the Chinese team:
“When the possibility of signing Daniel was presented to me, it was an exciting prospect,” he commented. “As the saying goes in the Eastern world – a prodigal who returns is more precious than gold!
“We have decided to give Daniel the opportunity to make his return and we welcome him with open arms. We hope the home hero will redouble our efforts towards finishing this extraordinary season in style.”