Back in September on Driving Experience, we reported on Lewis Hamilton’s formation of his X44 team for the new Extreme E electric off-road vehicle series of motorsports. But almost two months on, news has emerged in this last week that he’s set to be in direct competition with his former F1 teammate once again.
Nico Rosberg launched his new Rosberg Xtreme Racing (RXR) team for the series in a blaze of publicity on social media last Thursday (22nd October). It is now the ninth team to join the new green off-road series which takes place in five different locations across the world that have been affected by the impacts of climate change on their environment and work being done to restore these.
Rosberg has been equally as forthright as Hamilton on the wider environmental issues the Extreme E series is looking to challenge and make a difference in, particularly on the issues of sustainability which many of the current motor racing series - not just Formula 1 - are being examined more closely on.
Speaking on the launch last week, Rosberg said "Since retiring from F1, I have dedicated my career to sustainable technologies, so to be able to combine these endeavours with my passion for racing is incredibly fulfilling … The series represents an amazing opportunity to not only drive awareness but also inspire action in the fight against climate change - the single biggest threat to our planet today."
Whilst both Rosberg and Hamilton are taking more of an executive position in terms of their respective teams rather than the actual driving - Kimmo Liimatainen will act as Team Principal of RXR - there’s undoubtedly some Formula 1 fans who’ll be rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of two old rivals squaring up, even if not in their respective drivers’ seats.
The Extreme E series, which sees teams compete in identical SUVs driven by both male and female drivers, will commence in 2021 without spectators, but will be broadcast live on TV and social media. The locations of the races will be in West Africa, the Brazilian rainforest, Greenland, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the mountains of Nepal.
If nothing else, both Hamilton and Rosberg’s participation in this new series will undoubtedly bring attention and awareness to the wider more important issues and projects that are at the heart of the work of Extreme E. We wait and watch with interest to see if any others will follow suit!