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FIA signs up for Extreme H, a new Hydrogen-powered racing series in 2025

FIA signs up for Extreme H, a new Hydrogen-powered racing series in 2025

Despite the world heading towards electric vehicles, it seems the racing world isn’t quite ready to admit defeat.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Extreme E have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding setting out a framework to create the first-ever hydrogen off-road racing world championship.

Development of the Extreme H series is underway, with plans advanced to have a prototype launched later this year ahead of the first season in 2025.

This document is the first step in establishing a pathway for the hydrogen series, Extreme H, to become an FIA Championship from its inaugural season in 2025, with the intention that it will 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.

Extreme H would join just 7 other official FIA World Championships, which include:

  • FIA Formula One World Championship
  • FIA World Rally Championship
  • FIA World Rallycross Championship
  • FIA World Endurance Championship
  • FIA Karting World Championship
  • FIA World Rally Raid Championship
  • FIA Formula E World Championship

This planned pathway to FIA World Championship status demonstrates the series’ progression since its inception in 2021 and a strong statement of intent for its growth towards its hydrogen-powered future.

Hydrogen cars have failed to gain any serious traction in the passenger vehicle segment. Some global entrants have been the Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo, Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell, Hyundai Staria Fuel Cell, Land Rover Defender Fuel Cell and yet to be released is the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.

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.

Once it achieves FIA World Championship status, Extreme H will continue what Extreme E started as a pioneering motorsport series and we look forward to delivering another spectacular sporting product. I’d like to thank the President and the FIA for their continued support and recognition of our ambition to create a world-first for motor racing. Expect to see yet more exciting racing out on course, as well as further pushing the boundaries of new technologies in the race to tackle climate issues.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E

We are excited to continue working with Extreme E on their journey to becoming an FIA World Championship. Using sustainable power sources in motor sport 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 motor sport 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 motor sport accessible for all.

Motor sport 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.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

Extreme E boasts legendary motorsport names across its championship, from team owners Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button to motorsport heavyweights McLaren, Andretti and Chip Ganassi – with world champions across multiple disciplines competing in the series since it launched just over two years ago.

The first sport to ever 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, and taking fans deep into the heart of the most pressing issues facing our planet’s future.

Nico Rosberg’s X Racing has posted about the announcement.

Great news that @ExtremeELive and Extreme H will be accredited by the @fia, creating the first-ever hydrogen off-road racing world championship and establishing a pathway to becoming an FIA World Championship in 2026. A world-first and an important milestone!

— Rosberg X Racing (@rosbergxracing) August 31, 2023

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