Author Archives: esmeeeline

Formula One is Coming Home! – British GP Weekend Preview

Whilst it didn’t quite come home in last weekend’s Euro 2020 final, Formula One returns to its home as the paddock sets its sights on the British Grand Prix! Two weeks on from Max Verstappen’s dominant showing throughout an exhausting triple header, can he continue his supremacy or can Sir Lewis Hamilton retake his crown on home soil?

Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Esmée Koppius

The Home of British Motor Racing, the Silverstone circuit, is an old fashioned fast-flowing race track. The fan favourite venue features several world-famous landmarks that help make up the 18 corners of its layout. Some of these include the car testing complex of ‘Maggots and Becketts,’ a series of fast-flowing, high-speed bends, as well as the twisty ‘Village’ complex followed by the ‘Loop’ that play a crucial role in a successful lap. The newly renamed ‘Hamilton Straight’ plays host to an iconic starting grid alongside the stunning ‘Silverstone Wing’ pit building and will be the centre of action come Sunday’s main race. I say main race as, for the first time ever, Silverstone will host a Sprint race on Saturday that will form the grid for Sunday and be another way for teams to earn points as the FIA attempt to liven up the action of a race weekend. The grid for the sprint race will be formed by use of traditional qualifying on Friday night as the teams have reduced practice time this weekend.

Hosting the first-ever official Formula One race in 1950, Silverstone has seen history written and rewritten here over and over again. The Mansell Mania of the 1980s and 90s saw Nigel Mansell win on home soil an impressive 4 times at Silverstone, leading to the iconic scenes of fans swarming their home hero’s car as it completed its cool-down lap. This however will soon be outdone by Britain’s next home hero in Sir Lewis Hamilton who waltzed to his first victory at home during a rain-soaked race in 2008. Since then, he has won here a further 6 times, which makes Lewis Hamilton the driver with the most wins at a home Grand Prix with 7!

Besides impressive success, Silverstone’s modern layout has played host to some truly iconic racing moments, such as Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso’s epic wheel to wheel showdown in 2012 and Max Verstappen’s daring move on Nico Rosberg in 2016! Moving to 2018, fans witnessed a nail-biting multi-team battle for the lead as, following a safety car restart, Sebastian Vettel came out on top having battled hard against his Ferrari teammate as well as the four Mercedes and RedBull drivers. Only one year later, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc would treat fans to a thrilling race-long battle before Sebastian Vettel would collect the RedBull driver as he violently locked his brakes. Last year, featuring two British Grand Prix, Sir Lewis Hamilton miraculously limped to victory on three wheels to beat out Max Verstappen – who himself would go on to win the 70th anniversary British Grand Prix only a week later!

What can fans look forward to this year?

This year’s Formula One Grid features three truly exceptional British drivers who will all be looking to make their mark at home. Sir Lewis Hamilton will be hoping that his Mercedes team can give him a chance to claw back some of the championship lead Max Verstappen has built on him. The Young Dutchman will be coming off the back of a truly dominant triple-header as his team look to make it a 6th RedBull win in a row this weekend. Lando Norris, having finished on the podium in Austria, will surely be confident that he can repeat this feat on home soil, whilst George Russell hopes to do one better than Austria to achieve his first points finish for Williams at home in a true fairy-tale manner. 

The British teams of McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams will be looking to perform well in front of many crucial investors at home – as will much of the paddock, who are based in Great Britain, such as the Austrian team of RedBull and the German team of Mercedes whose entire operations take place in Milton Keynes and Brackley respectfully. McLaren looks strong with the aforementioned podium of Lando Norris and a seemingly resurgent Daniel Ricciardo heading to Silverstone. Aston Martin, ahead of their first home Grand Prix in their current form, will be nervous following a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix, as will Williams who missed out on points yet again – though only narrowly.

Whilst they may have outdone us during the Euros, Italy’s Formula One showing will be slightly weaker than its Football. Ferrari has struggled with tyre wear in recent races, especially when battling close with other cars, though they seem to have good pace in the car that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz can utilise. Alfa Romeo will once again swim on the fringes of the points as questions continue to surround the ageing Finn of Kimi Raikkonen following a foolish and dangerous mistake last time out. The final Italian team, Alpha Tauri, should perform well as Pierre Gasly continues to perform exceptionally and Yuki Tsunoda seems to finally be finding his footing.

The French team Alpine narrowly scored points in Austria and will be hoping to do so again with some more confidence in Britain. Finally, Haas F1 Team, America’s Formula One showing, will once again be lucky to avoid the back row in qualifying and will be hoping for all manners of calamities in both Saturday and Sunday’s races as they hope for some fortunate points.

Be sure not to miss Formula One’s inaugural sprint race this Saturday as well as all the other action taking place this weekend, such as W-series and Formula 2!

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Women Crush Wednesday’s: Charlotte Sefton

We’ve seen her in multiple interviews with Lando Norris this year, and she’s quickly becoming one of our favorite people in the paddock. That’s right, it’s Charlotte Sefton. Whether it’s making sure Lando Norris’s hair is on point or if his mask is on or off, Charlotte’s there taking care of the young McLaren driver (and full-time streamer).

Written by Esmée Koppius, Edited by Bruna Brito

Charlotte started working at McLaren almost 7 years ago in 2014 as a PR Officer. Today, she is a Communications Manager at the iconic team, meaning she’s the one that organized the car launch and all PR events. Before working at McLaren, she worked for Jardine (a motorsport event organizer). There’s little known of her, but that doesn’t mean what she has achieved isn’t impressive.

In her time at McLaren she has worked with Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Carlos Sainz Jr ,and now Lando Norris as well as Daniel Ricciardo. She was also nominated for an award in 2019, which she sadly didn’t win.

Charlotte Sefton on Twitter: "Hard work, late nights and zero sleep, but we  SMASHED it 👊🏻. And still time for a #BackstageSelfie 📸. #OneTeamOneDream  #MCL32 Next stop: 🇪🇸.… https://t.co/uHH6PiM2uJ"

She has been doing an amazing job at McLaren, keeping Lando Norris happy and his hair and outfit on point (as seen in Norris’s interview in Austria a few weeks ago, where he told the interviewer she was his personal stylist). She’s also an example of hard work paying off, and she’s absolutely glowing.

charlotte sefton Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

We at Divebomb wish her the best of luck for the future and what that brings.

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Sebastian Vettel awarded a 3-place grid drop for impeding Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel has been awarded a 3-place grid drop for impeding Fernando Alonso in Q2. After reviewing footage of the German’s actions, as well as calling him to speak in front of the stewards, a grid drop penalty was decided as well as an additional Penalty Point, leaving him with a total of 6 Penalty Points in a 12 month period.

Written by Esmée Koppius, Edited by Aiden Hover

At the same time, Valterri Bottas, who was also called to speak to the stewards was not awarded a penalty for the incident at turn 9 and 10 and has been cleared of the allegations made towards him. He allegedly drove too slow at turn 9 and 10, resulting in a queue including multiple cars.

Sebastian Vettel apologising to the Spaniard

Sebastian Vettel may feel hard done by his penalty as, in his eyes, the blame should lie with the cars ahead who were jumping the queue. Regardless of who’s to blame, this is certainly not how Vettel would have wanted to end his birthday.

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MotoGP Driver Maverick Viñales to leave Yamaha

Written by Georgina Clissold, Edited by Esmée Koppius

Earlier today it was announced that Spanish MotoGP driver Maverick Viñales is set to part ways with Yamaha at the end of the 2021 season. The Spaniard had signed a two-year contract with Monster Energy Yamaha to compete up until the end of the 2022 season. 

This isn’t the first time that Viñales has left a team mid-way through a contract, in 2012 the then 17 year old shocked both fans and the media when he withdrew from the Malaysian Moto3 Race and flew home (before returning to the team for the final two races of the season).

Maverick in name and nature, Viñales has struggled for consistency throughout the season so far, despite winning in Qatar at the start of the year the MotoGP driver has been outperformed by his teammate Fabio Quartararo with the pair standing sixth and first in the championship respectively.

Viñales chega a Holanda com pé direito em meio à crise com Yamaha

Whilst Viñales’ statement regarding his departure from the team was courteous and the decision was built on ‘mutual respect and appreciation’ it’s thought the relationship between driver and team broke apart after the Spaniard’s shocking result at Sachsenring in Germany earlier in the month. 

Commenting on his last-place finish at the German MotoGP Viñales said: 

“In Sachsenring I wanted to go home on Friday already because it was a disaster weekend. I explained everything, but we were not able to improve.”

“I’ve never been in [last] position in my life, not even when I started racing. The result was very painful. It was disrespectful for myself as a rider. It’s difficult to forget, honestly. It makes me think a lot.”

The only factory MotoGP team seat still available for the 2022 season is now with Aprilia, though the Italian factory have not commented on the departure – so far.

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Red Bull and Verstappen warned chequered flag burnout

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Esmée Koppius

F1 race director Michael Masi has issued a warning towards Red Bull Racing because of a ‘victory burnout’ that one of their drivers, Max Verstappen, did yesterday. The young talented Dutchman won the Styrian Grand Prix with some margin to the next driver and championship rival Lewis Hamilton, leading every lap of the race after qualifying in pole the day before.

Masi spoke after the race and made himself clear that this kind of action must not happen again and that it will not be tolerated in future races.

As clearly stated in the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, Article 43.3, any post-race celebrations that drivers do must be done within strict limits, including but not limited to:

  1. Performed safely and does not endanger other drivers or any officials
  2. Does not call into question the legality of the car
  3. Does not delay the podium ceremony.

Verstappen did the act whilst being so close to the chequered flag, violating Point a) of the article we’ve just mentioned, which in turn prompted Masi to issue the warning as it was a dangerous act to do at the time. Whilst he was some distance away from Hamilton in second place, there are still the backmarkers who are still battling the race out to the very end and in the hypothetical event that Verstappen spun, those backmarkers could’ve hit him. Had he done it in the cooldown lap, it wouldn’t be viewed as dangerous since all, or rather, most, of the drivers have made their way into the pits

Verstappen himself has had quite the impressive start to the season, racking up four wins out of the eight races already held this season, sending him top of the provisional world championship table. His team, Red Bull Racing, is also top of the standings following an abysmal Monaco GP, and two absolutely dreadful races in Baku three weeks ago and Le Castellet last week by the current Constructors’ Champion, Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team.

PORSCHE AND AUDI TO POTENTIALLY ENTER FORMULA 1

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Esmée Koppius

German car manufacturers Porsche and Audi could be eyeing up a potential entry into Formula 1 in the near future. Porsche has had a constant presence in various motorsports for the better part of a century with the notable exception being Formula 1, this however might change in the near future. 

Earlier this year Porsche Motorsport’s Vice President Fritz Enzinger said a potential entry into Formula 1 would be entirely dependent on the new engine regulations set to take effect from 2025. 

“It would be of great interest if aspects of sustainability – for instance, the implementation of e-fuels – play a role in this,” Enzinger said. “Should these aspects be confirmed, we will evaluate them in detail within the VW Group and discuss further steps.”

Similar to Porsche, Audi who, although much younger than Porsche, have enjoyed a similar presence and success in multiple Motorsports with wins in Le Mans, DTM and the infamous Quattro in the WRC, however they’ve never been featured in the pinnacle of motorsport. 

It is worth stating that both Audi and Porsche are owned by the same parent company Volkswagen. However this hasn’t stopped the two sister manufacturers from entering the same series and competing against each other, as recently as 2016 Audi and Porsche were both in the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship. 

Later this week the heads of several Formula 1 teams will meet in Austria to discuss the future engine regulations. Present at the meeting will be Olla Kallenius (of Daimler, who own a third of the Mercedes Formula 1 team) Luca De Meo (CEO of Renault, Alpine’s parent company) John Elkann (Chairman of Ferrari) and other heavy hitters including Stefano Domenicali, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt. 

Also present at the meeting though will be Oliver Blume and Markus Duesmann the CEOs of Porsche and Audi respectively. 

Hopefully the 2025 engine regulations will play a positive role on the entry of Audi and the return of Porsche into Formula 1. 

A little bit of trivia for you, Porsche has raced and won a race in Formula 1 as a works team, which one?

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WOMAN CRUSH WEDNESDAYS: ABBIE EATON

Born on the 2nd of January 1992 in Hull, England, Abigail Eaton is a popular guest on the very successful Amazon Original, ‘The Grand Tour,’ along with being a 2 times British Champion in Production Touring Cars and the Mazda MX-5 Supercup. As well as this, she is the first female driver in history to win a Blancpain Endurance class as she pushes her career to inspire millions!

Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Esmée Koppius & Aiden Hover

Abbie says that her very first contact with the speed of a race track was at 10 years old:

 “My father used to race so I grew up around Motorsport. I started karting aged 10 and then progressed into cars aged 15.”

At 10, Abbie remembers being at a go-kart track with her parents and asking them if she could compete. However, they were busy doing other things. Determined, she picked up an old box and began walking through the pit boxes asking various team members to give her the money needed to compete. In this rather optimistic and comical act, she had shown her determination to her parents who decided to support her dream.

The start was not easy, however, with Abbie seemingly always getting into trouble with the boys as they would push her kart about on track and into the wall. She insists that those episodes simply made her the woman she is today and helped her build confidence within herself. From a young age, Abbie knew the passion required to do a good job and in this, she cultivated resilience and determination. Abbie knew she had to put herself in positions that others were unwilling to so that onlookers could have no doubt of her talent.

In 2007, Abbie joined her first professional race series – the Junior Saloon Car Trophy. Driving a Citroen Saxo VTR, she finished the championship in 4th position, with 3 podiums and 2 fastest laps.

In 2009, at 17 years old, Abbie entered the Production Touring Car Trophy, driving a Vauxhall Corsa VXR. Astonishingly, she would win the championship in her rookie season winning 15 out of 18 races with 2 pole positions a record 7 fastest laps!

Entirely self-funded by her family, despite being far from privileged, she went on to compete in the Mazda MX-5 Championship. This year would be incredibly difficult for the Briton as she would miss many races due to lack of sponsorship. She hit back strong in 2013 with 1 win, 7 podiums, and 1 fastest lap. Abbie would do even better in 2014, becoming the champion of the Mazda MX-5 Supercup!

Again in 2016, Abbie suffered a lack of sponsors. She has talked many times about how this was a problem throughout her career as, despite showing good results and consistency – the prejudice and difficulties followed her regardless of what championship she competed in.

“The MX-5 SuperCup will always be unforgettable for me. It was the last year I did anything in a family-run team. Dad built the car and did the set-up, and Mum was there supporting with bacon sarnies in the morning. It was a really tough year. Though my career has been quite long, I’ve only ever done the odd full season, and 2014 was the first full season I’d done in five or six years. We started well but three-quarters of the way through there was an incident in which someone hit me off track on purpose – there were so many highs and lows.”

Nonetheless, Abbie would earn the chance to compete in the Blancpain Endurance Series, driving a Ferrari 488 GT3, for a one of showing in 2017. Competing in a field of 52, she and her team would finish first in the AM Cup, making her the first female driver in history to win a class in the series.

Abbie Eaton later would become much loved as she played the role of test and stunt driver on the Amazon Original series, The Grand Tour.

“I think he was destined to fail, to be honest especially with UK viewers, I think probably it was set up that The Grand Tour is owned by Amazon, which is an American company and they wanted to just give it an American injection of humour.”

However, the show became a huge success, as it rose to one of Amazon’s most popular shows. Unfortunately, Abbie is no longer a part of the show.

For 2021, Abbie is set to compete in the second ever season of the ground-breaking W-Series:

“I’m determined and I’m quick – I just need bum-in-seat practice time – so I’m very grateful for the opportunity W Series is giving me. I’m focused on giving it my all – I think most of the girls are. Being in a male-dominated sport, you have to be hungrier and more aggressive on track to get what you want. You have to prove you’re not going to get messed about. I think that’s why racing in a female championship is going to be harder than in a mixed one. Our collective determination is so much more potent.”

Abbie came out as a lesbian and as a part of the LGBTQ+ community at the age of 17. As we celebrate Pride Month this June, we hope you enjoyed this article and wish Abbie well as she continues to inspire young people all around the world with her story!

Love is Love <3

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Portuguese Grand Prix – Weekend Preview

Two weeks on from the wet/dry stunner last time out in Imola, the Formula One circus will unleash itself on the Algarve International Circuit this weekend for the Portuguese Grand Prix! 

Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Esmée Koppius

The Portimão based circuit is set to make its return this weekend, following its successful substitution and debut Formula One race last year. With 15 corners and world class facilities, the 4.653 kilometre (2.891 miles) circuit is set to be a true challenge for the drivers. 

The track experiences constant elevation change as cars elegantly sweep uphill throughout the twisty first and second sectors before undergoing the sudden plunge through the track’s long final turn as Galp leads back onto the pit-straight. Last year’s pole time of 1:16.652 set by Sir Lewis Hamilton will be difficult to beat, but nonetheless will be a target in the eyes of all 20 drivers as they qualify before the scheduled 66 race laps this Sunday.

Whilst the Algarve International Circuit lacks a great deal of Formula One history, besides some various tests and its eventual Formula One race debut last year, the track has still played host to some incredible moments. Namely, Kimi Raikkonen’s incredible start on a slippery track last year, moving up from 16th to 6th by the end of the opening lap or even the epic wheel-to-wheel battle between former rivals, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez as the two scrapped side by side for the most part of an entire lap. 

The Portuguese Grand Prix itself is steeped in history and chronicle. From Ayrton Senna’s first Grand Prix victory in a rain-soaked 1985 race in Estoril to Niki Lauda’s championship the year before. In 1992, fans witnessed an epic airborne crash from Riccardo Patrese as he hit the back of Gerhard Berger’s McLaren who himself experienced a strange accident in 1993 spinning out the pitlane on cold tyres. Four years prior in 1989, Nigell Mansell controversially came together with Ayrton Senna, eliminating both from the race despite Mansell being shown the black flag several laps beforehand for a pitlane infringement. 

Back to modern times, the Portuguese Grand Prix witnessed record-breaking history as Sir Lewis Hamilton became the most successful Formula One driver ever in terms of wins with 92 race victories!

What can fans look forward to this year? As is becoming evident in 2021, the main battle upfront will be between Redbull and Mercedes. The Netherland’s Max Verstappen will be looking to replicate his success from Imola whilst Britain’s Lewis Hamilton will want to make amends for what he sees as a missed opportunity last time out following his costly mistake whilst lapping backmarkers. Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, will want to move past Imola and turn over a new leaf this weekend as he crashed out whilst fighting George Russell at the tail end of the points. Redbull’s Sergio Perez performed well in qualifying, achieving second on the grid in Imola before falling down the grid following several mistakes during the race, something he will want to avoid in Portugal.

Ferrari and McLaren look set to continue their scrap for third as the two teams finished well in Imola. Charles Leclerc will be looking to make the step-up onto the podium after missing out to Lando Norris last time out whilst Carlos Sainz will be hoping for more of the same from his side of the garage as he showed great improvement to be closer to his Monegasque teammate. Daniel Ricciardo will be hoping to convincingly beat Lando Norris this weekend after being told to allow his younger teammate through by his McLaren team last time out.

AlphaTauri showed great pace in Imola and will aim to continue that into Portugal, however, they would want to avoid the countless mistakes both the team and its drivers made in Italy. Yuki Tsunoda crashed out in qualifying and then spun late into the race, costly mistakes he needs to eliminate if he wants to impress his RedBull bosses. Pierre Gasly, who recently came out as saying he has no time for Helmut Marko, suffered an unfortunate strategy call as he was left out on full-wets; despite this, the Frenchman drove a great race and will be looking to do the same in Portugal.

Alpine will be satisfied with double points in Imola and will be looking to continue that this weekend as they struggle with a seemingly disappointing car. Aston Martin saw points with only one driver yet again as they too struggled with an underperforming car and a mistake-prone Sebastian Vettel. Both of these teams seem to have slipped away from Ferrari and McLaren and even behind Alpha Tauri, something they will aim to change in Portugal and in future races.

Williams saw great pace last time out but ultimately squandered it with a double DNF. Latifi qualified well to achieve his best result but would come away with nothing following a crash with Nikita Mazepin. George Russell was fighting with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas for P9 before a scary crash leading to some unsavoury post-race comments that the Brit later took back. Both drivers will be looking to continue their strong pace but will be hoping to eliminate the costly mistakes.

Alfa Romeo fell back from their Bahrain promise in Imola, finishing last bar the two Haas cars who themselves finished two laps down at the back of the grid. Both teams will be hoping for much more this weekend as well as for something major to happen in front to gift an unlikely opportunity for points. 

This weekend’s festivities are set to begin this Friday at 11:30 BST for first practice with Saturday’s qualifying set to begin at 15:00 BST. Be sure not to miss the main event on Sunday with lights out 15:00 BST as this weekend is set to be a stunner – especially with the ever-growing rivalry upfront.

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Natalie Pinkham, a light in the paddock

Natalie Pinkham has definitely earned her place in the paddock and our hearts with all the memorable interviews she has had with the drivers and team principles. She’s an amazing woman, a fantastic mother, and a brilliant reporter. She’s a brilliant example to young girls who are interested in the sport and a career in it.

Written by-Esmée Koppius edited by-Tanishka Vashee

Natalie grew up in Northamptonshire, with her brother Sam. She went to Queenswood School first, and later went to Rugby School (reportedly as a day girl) before she went on to study Politics at the University of Nottingham. During her early school days she showed a talent in the 800 metres run, something she gave up when she started studying at university.

After graduating she got her first job at Endemol, where she became a researcher for BBC Two’s program called Ready, Steady, Cook. She later on moved to be an assistant producer for International King of Sports-which is a sports competition with rare sports. Later on, she relocated to IMG/TWI and helped produce Superstars.

From there on, she decided to step in front of the camera, the rest is history! She made her debut in front of the camera hosting the Isle of Man TT and races for Men and Motorsport. She reported various other sporting events from 2004-2010 and there are so many, If I listed them all we’d be here for days.

You might even know her from Dancing on Ice, which she competed on together with Andrei Lipanov. Sadly, she exited on week 2 after a skate off with Tim Vincent. She also regularly wrote for the Mail on Sunday in the Health, Travel and Reviews section of the paper.

She made her F1 debut in 2012, where her main role that year was reporting from the pits. That meant she covered the full weekend of free practice, qualifying, races and interviews. The next year, in 2013, she took over from her friend Georgie Thompson to host The F1 Show and from then she became a key part in the Sky Sports F1 team.

She made F1 history when she became the first woman to commentate an F1 race in 2021. She commentated the qualifying of the Bahrain Grand Prix that year, next to Karun Chandhok and Jenson Button. We hope that she will be able to do more commentating work this year.

Additionally to being an awesome TV-personality, she’s also mother to two children. She has a son and a daughter, who you might’ve seen pop up in Daniel Ricciardo’s Instagram stories, who is their godfather. (Most notably the one where Daniel Ricciardo, in true Daniel Ricciardo fashion, eats an entire bell pepper next to Natalie’s son Wilfred, or Wilfie as he’s called in the video. Wilfie’s rightfully weirded out by the behaviour of Daniel Ricciardo and looks at him funny.)

We can only dream about what the future might hold for Natalie Pinkham, but we wish her all the best. She’s truly an inspiration for many young girls and women alike and we can only admire her and support her in her next adventure.

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Racing to save the earth: sustainability in motorsport

13 April 2021

Earlier this month, the first Extreme E race was held in the desert of Saudi Arabia with great success. This new series brought more attention to the many categories of sustainable racing that are being held and promoted as a result of the growing movement from the general public to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. With ever-growing eyes towards those categories of racing, more sponsors are considering funding a team. And with big names such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button owning teams in Extreme E, it can only be a matter of time before more of the public latches onto the new sustainable categories of racing.

Written by Esmée Koppius, Edited By Aiden Hover

As touched on in the introduction, there are several new racing categories that challenge the traditional views people have towards motorsport. In the end, innovation is what makes racing so incredibly special and unique and to do it well is the only way to get ahead of the competition. These new racing series provide a platform for teams to innovate in ways that have never before been seen and can surely be nothing but beneficial for humanity as a whole.

Formula E

The Formula E driver lineup of 2019/2020

Formula E (officially known as ABB Formula E Championship) was one of the first electric racing categories. It started in 2014 and has since picked up momentum and support from the general public. The idea began in 2012, and by the second half of 2013, there were some car demonstrations at key events.

The racing season of 2014-2015 saw the creation of a new championship for purely electric vehicles, with the first racing being held at the Beijing Olympic Green Circuit in China on the 13th of September. The race was won by Lucas di Grassi for Audi Sport ABT. After 11 races that season, the championship was won by Nelson Piquet Jr. Nowadays, there are 12 teams with 2 drivers each so 24 in total. Races (ePrixs) are held in 12 cities all over the world and are about 2.5 to 3 kilometres (1.6 to 1.9 miles) long. The cars go from 0-100 km/h (0- 60 mph) in 2.8 seconds and have a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph).

The race day format is as follows: in the early morning there is a free practice session and in the late morning there are the qualifying sessions, in which drivers are put into four groups and need to put in a good lap to determine the starting positions. Then in the afternoon, there is a rest period of 2 hours to reload the cars so they can race in the evening. A race is 45 minutes + 1 lap long and always takes place on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

For more information visit, their official website.

Extreme E

The Extreme E cars of 2021

Similar to Formula E, Extreme E electrifies an already existing racing category as it takes on the rallying world. It’s a very good indication of people wanting change in motorsport and challenging the, sometimes outdated, belief that you cannot race in an electric vehicle in extreme conditions. With big names such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Jenson Button owning teams in Extreme E and Carlos Sainz Sr. and Sébastian Loeb racing in Extreme E, it is no wonder people are tuning in and loving the new series.

The 2021 season will feature a total of 5 races around the globe and began on the 3rd of April to then end on the 12th of December 2021. During that time, they will have a Dessert X-Prix, an Ocean X-Prix, an Arctic X-Prix, an Amazon X-Prix and a Glacier X-Prix.

An Extreme E race weekend looks like this: four rounds with two-time trials and four races. There are two qualifying time trials held on Saturday and there is a semi-final, a “crazy race” and a shoot-out. On Sunday is the final race. A qualifying round is a time trial and, based on the combined times of the two runs, points are awarded. The top three from both qualifications then go to the semi-final, the next three go to the “crazy race” and the shoot-out consists of the last three teams. The race itself will consist of the best two cars from the semi-final and the best car from the “crazy race”. The race will, in the end, have three cars racing each other.

9 teams are competing in the 2021 season and currently, Nico Rosberg’s team consisting of Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson is first with 35 points. Each team is also required to have one male and one female driver. The goal of Extreme E is to have a net-zero carbon footprint by the end of the season which they will aim to achieve with the help of ‘ALLCOT certificated global programmes.’

For more information, visit their official website.

Solar Powered Racing

The Dutch Nuna8 car in Australia (Challenger Class)

The ‘Bridgestone World Solar Challenge’ is an annual race held in Australia that has pushed forwards innovation and technology over the last 30 years. It’s one of the toughest solar races in the world and spans a massive 3000 kilometres (1864,1 miles) across the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide. As the name suggests, the teams can only use the power of the sun to cover this distance. It is a true test of technology and engineering, mixed with teamwork which makes this race so unique.

There are three classes that race, all with very different looking vehicles – but all solar powered. The first class is the Challenger Class. The Challenger Class is the most traditional, its philosophy is to design the most effective solar vehicle to complete the gruelling 3000-kilometre journey. Its cars are visually pleasing and the winner is determined by who finishes first. The maximum length of the car is 5 metres (16.4 feet) and the maximum width is 2.2 metres (7.2 feet). It needs at least three wheels and must have a maximum of 4 square metres (43 square feet) of solar array surface area. There’s only 1 driver in this class.

2013 saw the addition of another racing class: the Cruiser Class. Its goal is to encourage the creation of solar cars for the general public. According to the official website, it aims to ‘Change the way we think about what we drive and what fuels we use.’ The winner of this class is determined by multiple factors and evaluated by judges. It includes both performance and design. In 2017 the winning vehicle carried an average of three people the entire 3000 kilometres using less than 46 kWh of electricity. To put that into perspective: the energy cost to make this journey per person was less than USD $4.70.  This category also has the rule set requiring a vehicle no more than 5 metres long and 2.2 metres wide, but it allows for 5 square metres of solar array and it needs to have at least 4 wheels instead of 3. There should also be passengers (at least 1) as well as the driver and the race is split into 3 1200-kilometre stages.

Lastly, there is the Adventure Class. This category is for non-competitive entries that, according to the official website ‘Do not meet either Challenger nor Cruiser class regulations.’ It is more of a class for inspiration, seeing as there is no real racing in this category which means it is more based on challenging yourself to make this journey. There are no regulations for this class, which allows for some very interesting vehicles.

For more information, visit their website.

LUCA

LUCA at it’s presentation in 2020

Sometimes when people don’t like a certain thing, they’ll call it trash. In this case they are totally correct. LUCA is an electric vehicle mostly made of recycled materials and, most notably, parts of LUCA are made of plastic fished out of the ocean. Students from the Technological University of Eindhoven (Netherlands) tackled a big challenge to create a car out of waste, and even though it’s not racing or motorsport related, it does bring a new perspective into sustainable car manufacturing and may help us create more sustainable road and race cars in the future.

Sadly not all of LUCA is recycled, its front windshield and electronics for example are brand new. It’s also not the fastest car as its top speed is 90 km/h (56 mph). But it is considerably lighter than an average electric vehicle and has a range of about 220 kilometres (137 miles). LUCA might be the first step in a long process of sustainable car manufacturing and I, for one, am very intrigued to see where that, as well as the electric racing series above, will lead us to.

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Be sure to check out our recent interview with Gabriel Casagrande, found here.

Also, check out our recent featured article detailing the best races in F1 history, found here.