Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will make his first foray into team ownership with the launch of X44, which will compete in the inaugural season of the all-electric Extreme E off-road series.
According to Hamilton, the team, which is named after his race number in F1, is another step towards his ongoing goal of raising awareness of environmental issues.
“It’s an exciting new project and it will be fun to have a different role from being the team driver,” said Hamilton.
“What is most appealing though, is that the Extreme E Championship will be not only raising awareness of some of the most critical environmental issues facing our planet, but also doing something about it through working with local charitable organizations to leave behind no trace and a long-lasting legacy of change. 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. I’m looking forward to the team taking part in this new series and I think it’s incredible that we can do so whilst raising awareness about the climate crisis.”
X44 joins a roster of already-announced teams including Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport, Abt, HWA, Techeetah, QEV Technologies and Veloce Racing. The team is yet to reveal its drivers, although Hamilton will not be part of the line-up, and nor will he take a direct operational role.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lewis Hamilton and his X44 team to Extreme E,” said series founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.
“Like us, 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. Lewis is one of the most successful drivers of all time, and we’re all excited to see how his X44 team performs on and off the race track under his incredible guidance.”
Extreme E will race electric vehicles in five remote locations that are already damaged or severely under threat of climate change from a range of serious issues including melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification and rising sea levels, with the aim of showing first-hand how human actions are damaging the planet.
To minimize environmental impact, the races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead following the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media. The command center for the championship series will be on board the RMS St. Helena, a ship which is undergoing multi-million dollar upgrades to minimize emissions and transform her into the operations, logistics, accommodation and garage base for the championship.
The series is scheduled to begin in Senegal in January.