The last two months have seen an absolute explosion of real-driver involvement in various eSports series, mostly resulting in a lot of exposure but increasingly also providing controversy.
After one NASCAR driver losing a sponsor over rage quitting, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson losing his NASCAR Cup ride due to a racist outburst and F1 driver Lando Norris not exactly making friends with veteran Indy 500 champ Simon Pagenaud, here’s another bizarre story to add to the chapter of eSports scandals this year:
Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been caught cheating in the Formula E #RaceAtHome series race this weekend. Abt didn’t use an exploit or setup trick to improve his position though, his method of cheating was a little more blatant: He didn’t drive himself!
Instead of competing in the race against fellow real Formula E drivers himself, Abt paid eSports pro Lorenz Hörzing to drive for him, a task Hörzing did pretty well as “Abt” finished third in the Berlin race before being called out for not having competed himself by his peers.
The already not very good optics of this are being made worse by the fact that the #RaceAtHome series is a charity event in co-operation with Unicef. After being exposed, Abt apologized, he’ll be loosing all of his eSports season points and has been fined $10k that will be donated towards a charitable cause.
Abts behavior is perhaps not as surprising considering he recently talked pretty openly about not being much into sim racing and not feeling like spending hours to prepare for these official races:
The German Formula E driver is probably not the only real racing driver who doesn’t really enjoy these sim racing competitions but young factory drivers are under a lot of pressure to compete in these official series, providing value for their teams & manufacturers while real racing is stopped, whether they actually enjoy it or not.
While big-time champs like Lewis Hamilton have the clout to outright refuse to do it, younger drivers often do not have that option, however Daniel Abt’s “solution” to that problem obviously isn’t the way to go either…