Extreme H to become first hydrogen racing World Championship
THE Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has delivered a strong statement of intent for its pursuit of a hydrogen-powered future, setting out a framework to create the first-ever hydrogen off-road racing world championship.
The non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the governing body and Extreme E, establishes a pathway for the hydrogen series, Extreme H, to become an FIA Championship from its inaugural season in 2025. The intention is for it to become an FIA World Championship from 2026, should the requisite criteria be met.
In addition, the pathway outlines that in 2024 Extreme E, currently an FIA International Series, would be recognised as an FIA Championship.
Development of the Extreme H series is underway, with plans advanced to have a prototype launched later this year.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “Establishing alongside the FIA a world-first hydrogen racing world championship will be a momentous milestone for Extreme E and the new Extreme H series. Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be amongst the top tier of global motorsport categories, and Extreme H would be the first-ever world championship racing series of its kind.
“What started as a conversation many years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated enormous growth and further pioneering technical advances as we move forward with the transition to hydrogen and Extreme H – a world-first.
“This announcement is a significant first step in the development of our championship and our ground-breaking transition to hydrogen-powered racing. Sport is the most powerful and effective platform to drive innovation and our commitment to delivering sustainable motorsport championships full of excitement and with a reduced carbon footprint are testament to that.”
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, said: “Using sustainable power sources in motorsport is the key objective of the FIA and part of our long-term strategy, and this series is an ideal showcase for that. Hydrogen is an important part of that mix, and we have developed a set of safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles which is part of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.
“It is encouraging that such a major motorsport entity as Extreme E with its renowned line-up of teams sees the same potential in hydrogen technology. Their approach to equality and diversity matches ours as we push to make motorsport accessible for all.
“Motorsport competition serves as an excellent research and development platform and this new series has great potential. Having the technology tested in the harsh environment of off-road racing in all types of conditions should benefit the whole industry, and in the longer term make mobility more environmentally friendly for everyday users of the road. We are looking forward to working with Extreme E, sharing our know-how and expertise.”
Magnet for the stars
Since its inception in 2021, the Extreme E off-road SUV racing series has proved a magnet for legendary motorsport names, from team owners Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, to motorsport heavyweights McLaren, Andretti and Chip Ganassi.
The first sport to be built out of a social purpose, Extreme E – and Extreme H from 2025 – aims to minimise environmental impact while maximising awareness, racing in places that have already been damaged or affected by climate change or human interference.