After the imposter scandal in virtual Formula E, Daniel Abt explained his view on the situation.
Teaser source: Studio 397 / Speedpool License
In a video statement, Daniel Abt explained his view on the imposter scandal in Formula E. Last Saturday, Abt secretly let esports racer Lorenz Hörzing drive under his name in the Formula E Race at Home Challenge.
The deception was quickly uncovered by the organizers, Abt was fined a €10,000 donation. On Tuesday, Audi suspended the German permanently from both their virtual and their real racing team.
“It’s just about entertaining”
In a video statement on his YouTube channel, Abt now explains his side of the story.
Before Abt actually talks about the imposter incident, he explains that the Formula E Challenge was always about entertainment for him. “It’s not about the actual Formula E championship, it’s not about prize money, it’s just about entertaining you, the fans, and collecting donations for UNICEF,” he says in the video.
Furthermore, he states that for him, driving in the online series is “not about results. (…) Its purpose was to entertain people.”
Abt recounts he got in touch with other esports racers in one of his livestreams. “We had a conversation in which this idea popped up, that it could be a funny move if a sim racer drove for me and show the other drivers what he is capable of.” The intention was, says Abt, to “create a fun story for the fans” which should later be revealed in a video.
“It was never my intention to let another driver drive for me, so I have a certain result and keep quiet about it afterwards, just to have a better standing.”
“We made a huge, huge mistake”
Abt then speaks about what happened on Saturday and the consequences for the events. He says he was aware of the other drivers being skeptical and reacting to his fast pace. He also knew that the IP of his replacement driver could be tracked down to Austria.
“We intentionally left it this way because we had no interest in covering this up.” He also said giving an interview afterwards felt wrong.
The discussion about Daniel Abt’s performance went on after the race. “[The topic] moved in a direction I could have never imaginged.” He paid the imposed €10,000 ‘fine’ immediately to a charity of his choice. “Then the topic came into the media. They picked it up and portayed me as a fraud right away without giving the chance to issue a statement and to explain what really happened.”
Daniel Abt explains how he sees the situation now: “We didn’t think enough about the seriousness and the consequences of our actions and we made a huge, huge mistake.”
The driver says he accepts all consequences for what he’s done. The stunt has also an impact on his career. He will not work together with his former partner Audi anymore. “It’s a pain I’ve never felt before in my life.” Lastly, he apologizes for the events on Saturday. “I made a huge mistake and I own up to that. I hope you can forgive me. (…) You make mistakes in life. I feel like I couldn’t have fallen any deeper.
Abt finishes his statement saying he will need time to reflect on the events and his future.
Rene Rast to replace Abt?
Meanwhile, “The Race” reports DTM driver Rene Rast is in line to replace Daniel Abt at the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team. Rumors say Rast was already considered to replace Abt before the events of Saturday.
The double DTM champion is also driving for Audi and is competing in the DTM Classic Challenge.
What do you think about the events? Is Audi’s reaction correct? Tweet us your opinion @NitroNights!