Formula E boss Alejandro Agag has hit back at Daniel Abt’s claims that the Fanboost fan voting platform is “a catastrophe” and that “there’s something wrong” with the current system.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver made the claims in his own video blog after last weekend’s Santiago E-Prix.
Abt, who is one of the most active online personalities in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship paddock, has enjoyed several Fanboost votes in the past.
“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 favorite 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.”
Agag went on to state that he and Abt had spoken this week and that the Audi driver had called the series boss to apologize.
Fanboost is an extra 100kJ of energy that can be used in a power window for 190kW to 200kW, up from the regular race output of 180kW.
Abt last secured Fanboost for the two Hong Kong races but believes that rivals or companies that work with some of his competitors are exploiting the syste.
It is managed by a real-time voting company called Telescope, which has conducted similar voting systems on TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.
“We were in front [with the votes for last week’s Santiago race] the whole time, but suddenly some drivers get a lot of votes overnight,” Abt said in his video blog last Tuesday.
“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.
“Strangely, all the votes are from 12 cities in China. They must have an awesome fan base there. This is a catastrophe. I was getting really upset about it.”
Fanboost gives three drivers an opportunity for an extra 100kJ of energy which is applied in a power band from 190kW to 200kW during the race. The voting is conducted via the official Formula E app and on Twitter.
Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez received the most votes in Santiago. They scored 23 percent, 21 percent and 18 percent of the votes respectively. Abt ended fifth with nine percent.
There have long been unsubstantiated rumours in Formula E that some drivers, or parties working for drivers and teams, have taken advantage of automated systems, some of which are known as ‘voting bots’ or ‘computer macros’.
Such systems can enable ‘human assisted automation’. However, Formula E and Telescope have always maintained that they have multi-layered procedures in place to combat against any such nefarious activity when votes are cast.
Agag also said it was “not surprising that drivers with the most Fanboost votes are some of the better known names, or those fighting for wins and championships such as Buemi, Vergne, di Grassi or Piquet.”
“Fans usually tend to vote for the drivers in the fight at the front, wanting to influence the podium picture,” explained Agag.
“It’s also interesting how voting changes between drivers when visiting the different countries we race in.
“Lopez was the star in Santiago because of his South American origin, as much as Filippi was in Hong Kong for its ties with the Chinese NIO team.”