Controversy around Fan Boost in Formula E has been a part of the series since it was created back in 2014. During the last few days, this controversy has reappeared due to Daniel Abt speaking against it. Series CEO Alejandro Agag answered the German driver and defended Fan Boost.
Since the series was born in 2014, Formula E has been involved in controversy around Fan Boost. This element, consisting of fans choosing a driver and the three most voted drivers getting extra power for a small time during the race; has often been criticized due to the way it works and how it can artificially change a race.
But this week, a few days after the Santiago ePrix, Daniel Abt said, on one of his videoblogs, some polemic words about it. On that video, the German driver, currently sitting in tenth place on the standings; stated his firm belief on how manipulated the system is to make some drivers win.
“I know you work your asses off to vote for me, and I’m working my ass off to get you involved.” Said Abt to his fans. “But then there are some drivers who manage to cheat a bit. I’m not saying it because I’m a sore loser, I’m saying it because I know it – somebody told me about it. Definitely there’s something wrong.” He added. “We were in front the whole time, but suddenly some drivers get a lot of votes overnight. Strangely, all the votes are from 12 cities in China. They must have an awesome fanbase there. Formula E knows about it, but they can’t do anything because they cannot prove it properly. This is a catastrophe. I was getting really upset about it.”
Abt is one of the drivers who wins Fan Boost more often, and the last race in Santiago was the first one this season on which he did not win. In Hong Kong he won it next to rookie drivers Luca Filippi and Kamui Kobayashi; and in Marrakech, he achieved it next to Sébastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi. Both Swiss and Brazilian driver also won in Santiago, but the third driver was Argentinian José María López.
On this season, to avoid fraud in voting, the time to vote has been reduced from 12 to 6 days, and voting via Instagram is no longer possible. However, Abt assured that this had not been enough and threatened to stop working for Fan Boost.
These accusations caused an answer coming from the series CEO, Alejandro Agag. The Formula E principal said that Abt‘s words were a ‘little outburst’ and firmly defended Fan Boost integrity.
“The Fanboost voting system is constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure user verification and credible results,” said Agag. “We’ve continued to improve the system since it was implemented in the first-ever season of Formula E, adding further layers of authentication to the voting process following suggestions from the teams. Well over a million fans have voted for their favourite driver and we see this number growing as the popularity of the series increases. The system is very reliable and drivers shouldn’t waste time in questioning the validity of Fanboost.”
However, Agag also said that, after what he said, Abt call him to apologise for his words, bringing the controversy about an uncommon element in motorsport, whose legitimity is easily questionable when a driver does not win; to a possible end.