Audi have confirmed that they have taken measures against German driver Daniel Abt after he used a ringer in a virtual race last weekend, in a scandal which has gripped the Formula E Championship.
The team have suspended Abt for the remainder of the season after releasing an official statement confirming the move.
However, RT Sport understands that his relationship with Audi has been severed entirely and the “suspension” is related to ending his contract due to a compliance failure.
The move comes after the 27-year-old was found to have been behind a scheme in which professional esports racer Lorenz Hoerzing raced under Abt’s name in Formula E’s virtual series, which was held at the virtual Berlin Tempelhof circuit.
Abt issued an apology on Sunday after it emerged that IP data confirmed that it was Hoerzing, and not Abt, driving the car in qualifying and in the race itself.
“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,” Audi AG said in a statement.
“He directly apologised 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 a Formula E veteran since the series’ inception six years ago and has won races in both Mexico City and Berlin in 2018.
The Audi race team will now be forced to locate a replacement driver for if and when the real-life season resumes later this year.