Stewards’ enquiry over ‘ringer’ claims in Formula E virtual race

LONDON (Reuters) – The outcome of round five of Formula E’s esports Race at Home Challenge was under a stewards’ enquiry on Sunday amid claims a “ringer” had taken the place of Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt and finished third.

Saturday’s 15-lap race around a virtual Berlin Tempelhof track was won by Britain’s Oliver Rowland for Nissan e.dams with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne second for Mercedes.

“Really not happy here because that was not Daniel driving the car himself, and he messed up everything. Really ridiculous,” Vandoorne said on his Twitch stream after an incident during the race.

“I’m questioning if it was really Daniel in the car.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, a two-times champion in the real-life all-electric series, backed up Vandoorne.

“Please ask Daniel Abt to put his Zoom next time he’s driving, because like Stoffel said I’m pretty sure he wasn’t in,” the Frenchman said.

Abt, who had not featured on the virtual podium in any of the previous races, did not appear for online post-race interviews.

A Formula E spokesman confirmed an enquiry was ongoing.

The series features regular Formula E drivers competing on simulators from their homes and aims to provide some action for fans with racing on hold in real life due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond

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