Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday announced he was entering a team in the Extreme E competition, a new electric off-road racing series that aims to shed light on environmental issues.
It will be Hamilton’s first foray into motorsport team ownership, although he will not drive or be involved in the day-to-day operation of his X44 team — named after his car number at Mercedes.
Competitors will race electric vehicles in five remote locations — arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier, and coastal — that are already damaged or at risk from climate change.
Extreme E is scheduled to begin in January 2021. Electric SUVs will race in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil, with each race being held across two days.
To minimise environmental impact, they will not be open to spectators and the command centre for the championship series will be a ship, modified to minimise emissions.
Britain’s Hamilton, 35, who is closing in on a record-equalling seventh F1 title, has been vocal on a range of issues, including the environment and racial injustice.
“Extreme E really appealed to me because of its environmental focus,” said Hamilton. “Every single one of us has the power to make a difference, and it means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact.
“Not only will we visit remote locations facing the front line of the climate crisis, we will also work closely with these locations and leading climate experts to share our knowledge and leave behind a positive legacy in each location which goes far beyond the race track.”
Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO at Extreme E, said he was delighted that Hamilton was on board.
“Lewis is hugely passionate about motorsport, but also shares our belief that we can use sport to highlight subjects which are vital to the world, such as climate change and equality,” he added.