F1 is a longstanding institution among gas-powered enthusiasts (for both cars and boats), but an upstart electric racing series is attracting some big-time investors.
Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has announced the purchase of an E1 race team that will take part in the series' inaugural schedule in 2023.
Nadal is no stranger to boating. Having been born on the coastal island of Mallorca, Spain, Nadal has shown a longstanding interest in coastal sustainably while spending time on the water. His custom-built Sunreef 80 catamaran Great White is a testament to his approach.
As for E1, the new series is being organized with both racing and sustainability in mind. E1's board of directors includes partners like professor Carlos Duarte, a world-leading marine ecologist, who will serve as E1’s Chief Scientist.
“I’m really excited to be getting involved with a project like E1 that values sustainability and will make a positive impact on society as a whole, especially in coastal communities,” Nadal said in a statement. “I also like the fact that E1 has a clear mission and is committed to preserving marine ecosystems."
“As a professional athlete, I recognize how making marginal gains has a positive impact on performance,” he added. “To see this competitive spirit and approach being applied to E1 to optimize the performance and efficiency of sustainable marine mobility is good news for our oceans.”
Nadal will also support E1’s Blue Action Program, which aims to coincide its racing destinations with projects aimed at restoring marine ecosystems along city waterfronts. The program is being led by Duarte.
“I’m delighted to see tennis legend Rafael Nadal join E1. Rafa epitomises elite sportsmanship and resilience," said Duarte. "As a fellow Mallorquin islander, I know Rafa shares my passion and commitment for marine conservation, and I’m looking forward to having Rafa’s support on this important journey to deliver restoration of marine ecosystems at scale.”
The momentum for E1 is seemingly growing worldwide, with Nadal being one of several high-profile investors and sports personalities to purchase a team. Current F1 driver and Mexico native Sergio Perez has also joined the ranks as a team owner for the upcoming season. The E1 series will run 8 races around the world in 2023 with up to 10 teams and 20 total pilots.
“Having a team owner of Rafael Nadal’s stature demonstrates the importance of our mission and shows that people like Rafa are passionate about making a positive impact,” Rodi Basso, co-founder and CEO of E1. “It’s amazing to see how driven Rafa is both on and off the court, particularly his appreciation for the ocean and marine life.”
You can get a look at Nadal's team and the upcoming 2023 racing season in the video below: