Extreme E has grand plans to change the world of motorsport for the better. It aims to raise awareness surrounding issues of climate change and equality, through using teams which consist of an equal mixture of male and female racers driving battery-powered Odyssey 21 SUVs. Races will take place in remote regions of the world which have been negatively impacted by global warming.
Scientists will travel alongside the teams, and the series has worked alongside ecological experts to make sure that its presence will not cause a negative impact. They will also make documentaries exploring the environmental issues which are faced in each race location. The equipment will be transported using an ex-Royal Mail cargo ship, the RMS St Helena, which will serve as a ‘floating paddock’. The races will have no spectators.
The project was announced in January 2019. Agag claims that Extreme E is only possible because of Formula E’s success over the past seven years
Extreme E was co-founded by the same mastermind who was behind the enormously successful Formula E: 50-year-old Spanish politician and businessman Alejandro Agag, alongside former Brazilian racing driver Gil de Ferran. The project was announced in January 2019. Agag claims that Extreme E is only possible because of Formula E’s success over the past seven years.
An Extreme E race weekend begins with two qualifying sessions. The top three teams from the two qualifying rounds proceed to the semi-final. The teams who finished forth to sixth compete in the crazy race, and the teams who finished seventh to ninth compete in the shoot-out. The top two teams from the semi-final and the top team from the crazy race proceed to the final.
In each race, two laps of the course are completed, with each team member driving one lap. After one lap of each session, there is a 45-second stop where the drivers must swap over. Teams must have one male and one female driver, in order to capture the message of equality which the series promotes.
Many famous names from the Formula 1 world are involved in Extreme E. 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button will be taking part, racing for his own team, JBXE. Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and his former Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg, will also manage their own teams.
Another notable racer who is participating in Extreme E is the W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, who will drive for the Veloce team. The team was co-founded by the chief technical officer of the Red Bull Racing F1 team, Adrian Newey, and the 2019 Formula E champion and former F1 racer Jean Eric-Vergne.
[The next race] will aim to raise awareness of the rising sea levels, marine ecosystem degradation and desertification
The first Extreme E race was the Desert X Prix at AlUla, Saudi Arabia, which took place on 3rd-4th April. Nico Rosberg’s X Racing team and Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team reached the final, alongside Andretti United. Victory was ultimately secured by Rosberg’s team, consisting of drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor. Hamilton’s team finished third, with Jenson Button’s team taking sixth.
The season will feature five events in total. The next race, the Ocean X Prix, will take place at Lac Rose (also known as Lake Retba) in Senegal, Africa on 29th-30th May. The event will aim to raise awareness of the rising sea levels, marine ecosystem degradation and desertification. Following this, there will be an Arctic X Prix in Greenland in August, an Amazon X Prix in Brazil in October, and a Glacier X Prix in Argentina in December.
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