Audi Formula E driver Daniel Abt was disqualified and ordered to pay €10,000 euros to charity on Sunday for using a professional gamer to compete under his name during an esports event.

Abt finished third in the latest round of Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge sim racing series on Saturday at Berlin’s Tempelhof street circuit, but was later found to have used a stand-in professional esports racer for the event.

Suspicion was raised amongst his rivals when Abt’s webcam was obscured throughout the race and after he failed to show up for the post-event interviews.

Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne said on his Twitch stream: “Really not happy here because that was not Daniel driving the car himself, and he messed up everything. That was ridiculous.”

Formula E then released a statement on Sunday confirming Abt had been excluded from the race due to “sporting misconduct”.

The German admitted he had cheated and issued the following apology: “I would like to apologise to Formula E, all of the fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday.

“I did not take it as seriously as I should have. I am especially sorry about this, because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation.

“I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention. Of course, I accept the disqualification from the race. In addition, I will donate 10,000 Euros to a charitable project.”

Abt, who had previously not recorded a single point from the opening four rounds, was also stripped of the points he scored in Saturday’s race.