In a groundbreaking move for motorsport, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), along with the FIA Formula One World Championship and Extreme H, has announced the inception of the world's first off-road hydrogen motor racing championship – the FIA Extreme H Championship. Set to commence in 2025, this innovative series marks a significant milestone in the evolution of racing, merging high-octane competition with environmental responsibility.
The establishment of the joint Hydrogen Working Group is a strategic alliance among these prominent organizations, including key figures like Mark Grain, Extreme E Technical Director, Pat Symonds, F1 Chief Technical Officer, and Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director. This collaboration aims to harness collective expertise to explore and evaluate hydrogen technology's potential within motorsport and broader mobility applications.
The primary goal of the Hydrogen Working Group between Formula 1, the FIA, and Extreme H is to closely monitor and advance the development of hydrogen technology. This encompasses fuel cells, battery systems for Extreme H's first-generation racing chassis, and the integration of hydrogen technology into race site infrastructure, transportation, charging, storage, management, and safety implications.
Extreme E, launched in 2021, has already positioned itself as a frontrunner in sustainable technologies. It combines off-road racing in electric SUVs with a mandatory gender-equal driver lineup, focusing on highlighting climate change issues and environmental impact. Transitioning to the FIA Extreme H Championship in 2025, this series represents a bold step towards a hydrogen-powered racing future.
The development of the inaugural Extreme H series is well underway, featuring a prototype hydrogen-powered chassis developed in partnership with Spark. A comprehensive testing program is scheduled for early 2024, following an initial full-speed shakedown later this year.
The FIA Extreme H Championship, from its debut season in 2025, is on the path to becoming an FIA World Championship by 2026. This trajectory, pending approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, reflects the series' significant growth and commitment to a sustainable, hydrogen-powered future. The FIA will oversee all technical, sporting, and safety regulations for the competition, ensuring high standards of governance and fair play.
The synergy between F1 and Extreme E extends beyond the racetrack. With teams owned by F1 World Champions like Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Jenson Button, and McLaren Racing's presence in both Extreme E and Formula E, there is ample scope for cooperation. These organizations are united in their commitment to sustainable technologies, climate change awareness, and fostering diversity within motorsport.
Mark Grain, Technical Director of Extreme E, expressed excitement about working alongside Formula 1 and the FIA to develop the world's first hydrogen racing proposition. This initiative is not just about racing cars; it encompasses transportation, infrastructure, refueling processes, and safety regulations, making it a pioneering effort in the world of motorsport.
Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the FIA's role in bringing its hydrogen technology expertise and regulatory experience to the collaboration. Pat Symonds of Formula 1 emphasized the sport's commitment to promoting sustainability and exploring all avenues of decarbonization, including hydrogen propulsion.
As the FIA Extreme H Championship gears up for its 2025 debut, it stands as a testament to the innovative spirit of motorsport, driving forward with sustainable solutions and captivating racing experiences. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting venture, including detailed chassis development and testing in the coming weeks.