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Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team hires Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez

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Sebastien Loeb and Christina Gutierrez
Loeb is rallying’s most successful ever driver, and Gutierrez has competed in the Dakar rally

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb will drive for Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team during its inaugural season in 2021.

Hamilton’s X44 team will also field Spaniard Cristina Gutierrez for the climate-aware off-road series.

“Cristina is an upcoming talent with a great future, and Sebastien is a driver I have admired for so many years,” said Hamilton.

Extreme E will be streamed live across the BBC, including on iPlayer.

Hamilton, who recently won a record-equalling seventh F1 world title for Mercedes, joined the series in September “because of its environmental focus and on important values such as sustainability and equality”.

The series aims to raise awareness in areas around the world affected by climate change and visit territories – arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier and coastal – which have been affected, such as Greenland and Brazil’s Amazon region.

Sebastian Loeb and Lewis Hamilton
Loeb and Hamilton celebrated winning their respective titles together in 2008

Loeb, who is world rallying’s most successful driver, said: “I am really impressed by what Lewis is doing in Formula 1, so to be able to work with him on this is an honour.”

Frenchman Loeb, 46, won nine consecutive titles for Citroen from 2004 to 2012 in a glittering a career which included 79 rally wins with co-driver Daniel Elena.

Gutierrez, 29, who was the first female driver to finish in the car class of the Dakar rally in 2017, said: “I am really excited to join X44. I get to work with two heroes of mine.”

The series, which will field one male and one female driver to promote gender equality within each of its nine teams, is preparing to launch the series in March 2021, following a delay because of coronavirus, with the first race at Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia on 20-21 March.

“I’m delighted to welcome Sebastien and Cristina to X44. They are both incredible drivers and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do out there,” said Hamilton – who will not race himself, but will “help guide a dedicated team”.

Hamilton has been at the forefront of an organised stance against racism during this F1 season and wants to use Extreme E to promote diversity within motorsport. He recently introduced a diversity commission to help tackle such issues in the sport.

British female driver Jamie Chadwick has already been announced as the driver of the British team Veloce Racing, who also have F1 car design legend Adrian Newey as ‘lead visionary’.

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