Formula E driver Daniel Abt has confirmed he has split with Audi completely after hiring a ringer to contest an esports race in his place at the weekend.
Abt was disqualified from Formula E's "Stay at Home" challenge when it emerged he organised a professional racer to compete in his place. On Tuesday he was suspended by his team. Abt paid a €10,000 fine to UNICEF, who are involved in the esports series.
In a video posted to his Twitter account on Tuesday evening, Abt apologised.
"It was extremely important to me to take this opportunity here and now, to tell you how it was and what happened and to simultaneously apologise to my family, to my friends, to Audi, to my partners, to Formula E, to UNICEF, and of course to all the fans who supported me over the years, with all my hand," Abt said in a statement. "I hope you can forgive me."
In the 15-minute video explaining his actions, Abt said he did not take the event seriously as he did not feel it met the standards Formula E should have been striving for in a professional event.
"There were loads of accidents, everyone drove as they liked," he added. "There were bugs, meaning errors in the game. Honestly, if you looked at it from the outside, I believe it was not a real Formula E race, a professional racing event."
"It is very important for me to say it was never my intention to let another driver drive for me, to get a result and keep quiet about it later on, just to make me look better," Abt said. "Because I do not [care].
"These points, this result, is irrelevant to me personally. It has no impact in any way. I'm not getting any money from it. The sim racer hasn't got any money from me, either. It was a feeling of 'this could be something cool.'"
Abt said the incident has been blown out of proportion by the media.
"They [the media] received the topic and basically, immediately displayed me as a cheater without giving me the chance to personally talk about it. To maybe tell them what really happened.
"I can understand that we went too far with this idea when looking back we did not think enough about the seriousness and the consequences of the situation. We made a huge mistake there. I stand by this mistake.
"I accept it and I will carry all the consequences for what I have done. I want to emphasise that I am glad the sim racing guys weren't drawn into this and were relatively left alone by the media compared to me."