Tennis legend Rafael Nadal is E1’s latest team owner, spotlighting electric boat racing league

Nascent electric boat racing league UIM E1 continues to make waves ahead of its inaugural season kicking off later this year. Tennis great Rafael Nadal has officially signed on as the league’s latest team owner, representing his native home of Mallorca, Spain. Additionally, Nadal will support the league’s Blue Action Program, which helps restore marine ecosystems, working alongside his own academy to promote sustainability through sport.

The UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series is a budding championship racing league created specifically for electric boats, brought to fruition by Formula E and Extreme E founder, Alejandro Agag, and Rodi Basso, a former director of Motorsport at McLaren with a background in Formula 1.

They initially launched the league in 2020 to not only bring a new and exciting competitive platform to the water but to simultaneously develop and promote more sustainable marine technologies to keep city waterfronts clean.

In February of 2021, E1 announced it had partnered with SeaBird Technologies and Victory Marine to develop, manufacture, and assemble the RaceBird – the electric boat that will eventually compete in the E1 World Championship Series.

This was followed by news in April of 2022 that Venice had become the first city to establish an E1 racing team. Following today’s news, Spain has joined the electric marine racing series and will be led by 22-time tennis Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who is sure to add some much-welcomed celebrity to the cause.

  • Rafael Nadal
  • Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal launches Team Spain as latest E1 owner

E1 shared news and images of Rafael Nadal’s official signing as the owner of Team Spain. The tennis legend is from the Spanish island of Mallorca, surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean ecosystem he remains quite passionate about. Hence part of the reason he chose to support E1’s mission well beyond bringing electric boat racing to the masses. Nadal went on:

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. 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. To see this same competitive spirit and approach being applied at E1 to optimize the performance and efficiency of sustainable marine mobility is good news for our oceans.

When the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series begins its inaugural season, “Rafa’s” new team will compete against other countries like Venice and Mexico, which is owned by Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez. However, Nadal has already established a partnership with E1 that extends much further beyond competitive marine racing.

Rafa’s E1 RaceBird design for Team Spain / Source: E1

Rafa will also support E1’s Blue Action Program which is led by the league’s chief scientist, marine ecologist, and fellow Mallorquin native, professor Carlos Duarte. Together with the tennis star’s Rafa Nadal Academy, E1’s Blue Action Program will develop an overall sustainability strategy throughout the league, while simultaneously supporting the Academy’s sustainability initiatives and commitment to sustainable sport. Duarte also said:

I’m delighted to see tennis legend Rafael Nadal join E1. Rafa epitomizes elite sportsmanship and resilience. 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.

Lastly, E1 and the Rafa Nadal Academy intend to collaborate on an international thought leadership event combining the worlds of sport with sustainability. Per the release:

The flagship event will bring the world’s leading sustainability experts together at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, to examine the next level of thinking on sustainability and highlight the positive role that sport can play in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The league states that the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series is still on track to begin later this year and that more teams and racing cities will be announced in the coming months. With only three teams announced so far, there are plenty of slots available to fill the 10-12 spots E1 is planning for the championship series.

Furthermore, at this year’s World Port Days in Rotterdam, Netherlands, E1 intends to deliver a special launch presentation that will showcase multiple electric boats racing, kicking off a countdown to its inaugural championship league season. Considering that Port Days event usually takes place in September each year, we’d expect the electric racing league to kick off its championship series closer to the end of 2023.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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