Nico Rosberg takes his new Xtreme Racing team off the charts as electric SUVs compete in remote ecosystems around the world for Extreme E motorsport championship.
It has been four years since Nico Rosberg retired from Formula One mere days after winning the 2016 World Championship.
The German-Finnish driver says stopping at the peak of his 10-year racing career was “beautiful but unexpected. I went from having truckloads of money coming in to nothing.”
Rosberg has shifted his focus from petrol power to electric mobility solutions. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he demonstrated the emission-free sidewaysdriving Schaeffler Mover with wheel hub technology featuring a rolling chassis design developed by his company TRE.
In May of that same year, he cofounded the first Greentech Festival in Berlin that unites leaders in the field of green technologies to promote a greener lifestyle, including Prince Albert, Robert Redford, Dr. Jane Goodall and Ursula von der Leyen. “The Greentech Festival has been progressing in line with the recent global shift in momentum, commitment and attitude towards green technology by business, sport and society,” Rosberg says, “and I believe it is playing a part in making that shift a reality. One of the biggest challenges is how to shift consumer mindset, not just showcasing smart solutions but also demonstrating how they can be integrated into everyday life.”
With Covid, people have not only been forced to “shift” their routines and habits but also to reassess their living environments. “I think that the global health pandemic has given people the opportunity to see and experience the benefits of not just quieter cities but much cleaner cities, too, thanks to reduced pollution levels caused by less combustion cars on the road and the adoption of electric mobility solutions,” the 35-year-old shares.
The Monaco resident states, “The pandemic and the economic crisis that comes with it are affecting a huge number of people. This has been on my mind constantly and together with my team, we’ve been trying to help and offer support where we can.”
Rosberg has spent the year between his home in Ibiza alongside working in Monaco. “Previously I have been an F1 driver or businessman away or in the office a great deal. To spend quality time with my two daughters and wife has been such a gift.
“We have had some really special moments, whether it was homeschooling them or teaching them about sustainable practices and growing fruit and vegetables in our garden.”
But Monaco’s golden boy has also been developing a massive project, the launch of the new Rosberg Xtreme Racing team, the first electric F1 World Champion off-road racing series starting in 2021. “Extreme E offers an amazing platform to drive awareness, educate and help fight climate change, both at the incredible locations the series visits and globally via its modernized media model,” he explains. “Since retiring from F1, I have focused on my investments in the sustainability field. Alongside my investment in Formula E, Rosberg Xtreme Racing marks an exciting next step. For me personally, it’s incredibly fulfilling to merge my passion for motorsport with fighting climate change.”
Each Extreme E race promises wheel-to wheel racing action and will feature two laps over 16 kilometers by four teams, with two drivers—one male, one female. Each driver will complete a lap and swap halfway through the race. Rosberg says, “My favorite feature is Hyperdrive, which gives the team with the biggest jump at the start of each race a power boost in that race—very cool!”
Five locations have been chosen for the Extreme E race series—the arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier, and coastal. “Each region represents an area that has already been affected by climate change and offers an opportunity for Extreme E to inspire positive change in those locations and beyond,” Rosberg emphasizes.
“And each location will offer a different challenge for our team and drivers to overcome. For example, driving across the desert in Saudi Arabia will require a completely different car set-up compared to competing in the rainforests of Brazil, and a new skill set for our drivers to use at each event. Both Extreme E and our team will work on legacy projects that will support communities in need through job opportunities and education.”
Rosberg Xtreme Racing’s first official sponsor is with eco-luxury catamaran manufacturer Sunreef Yachts. Rosberg insists, “The team will also partner with high-level institutions and initiatives to generate measurable social and environmental impact in the locations that Extreme E will visit. Our first announced project is the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which works with rural communities in Senegal to monitor available water resources and the status of vegetation.”
Rosberg puts his money where his mouth is. “As you know I have a number of investments focused around sustainable mobility. One of those investments is TIER Mobility, who is a leading provider of micro-mobility solutions with over 20% global market share. I’m excited that TIER has now raised a significant Series-C round of $250 million via SoftBank Vision, and has beaten all European opposition to become the first to be profitable.
“Recently, I have also added a sustainable food startup to my portfolio, the nu company, which is also leading the way on social aspects of business.”