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Home » Sports » E1, PIF And KAUST: A New Chapter In Racing And An Important Step Towards Ocean Sustainability
E1, PIF And KAUST: A New Chapter In Racing And An Important Step Towards Ocean Sustainability
E1 Power boating

The UIM E1 World Championship, the first world championship for electric-powered boats, took place in Jeddah on February 2nd and 3rd 2024, marking a significant moment for various fields, including the nautical industry and sport. The RaceBird, a monohull designed by Sophie Horne and engineered by Brunello Acampora, challenged the boundaries of racing boats with its spaceship-like shape and bird-like beak.

The RaceBird’s cutting-edge design and extraordinary performance have captured the imagination of enthusiasts and experts worldwide, demonstrating that creativity can open new horizons even in established sectors like the nautical one.

Although it is still new, the E1 Series championship benefits from the experience of the organization led by Alejandro Agag, the promoter of the world championship with fully electric single-seaters, Formula E, supported by the Italian CEO Rodi Basso, who has NASA on his CV , Ferrari, Magneti Marelli and McLaren among the main references.

Thanks to its dominant position in electric-powered sports, the development and launch of this new product was able to draw on technologies already developed in over ten years of road racing, regarding motors and battery management.

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The platform’s rapid take-off is due to its cutting-edge technical content and messages, which have involved eight highly attractive team managers. In addition to the well-known tennis player Rafa Nadal, the other non-European personalities involved similarly do not represent a ‘vertical’ audience from the ‘sole’ world of boating. They are all geographically and thematically distinct.

They are very diverse international ‘big guns’. They were so different in a sporting discipline that they had never met before. We’re talking about Sergio Perez, a well-known Mexican Formula One driver who still competes for Red Bull Racing alongside Verstappen. Didier Drogba is a legendary Ivorian footballer known for his physical strength, charisma, and incredible ability to score crucial goals. Drogba is known not only for his football abilities, but also for his social commitment, having participated in numerous charity and humanitarian projects.

Tom Brady is regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League. Virat Kohli is regarded as one of the best batsmen in modern cricket, with a game-changing ability that has earned him numerous individual records and accolades.

The UIM E1 World Cup is the first major sport in international competitions to be launched equally between men and women at the same time, with internationally renowned sports personality such as Mashael Al Obaidan from Saudi Arabia and Vicky Piria from Italy. In fact, each boat must be driven alternately by a man and a woman, many of whom are from the world of car racing. The championship, which culminates in Hong Kong on November 9 and 10, aims to double the number of events within a few years.

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The participation of Saudi Arabia in this championship is critical and marks a watershed moment in the history of motorboat sports. In fact, never before has a motorboat competition with such a high level of quality in the construction, research, and development of its hull and propulsion achieved world championship status: this boat represents the state of a global art form, just as Formula E represents the fastest and most competitive electric car on the road today. As a result, the PIF investment fund, along with Extreme E, believed in the project and formed a strong and long-term partnership.

These celebrities decided to buy a team license not just for the excitement of the sport but also because they were searching for “projects with a high positive impact.” This sport encapsulates many ideals in one go, particularly the pursuit of performance in order to improve mobility on the water and the proof that entertainment and sport can coexist with the preservation of marine ecosystems.

These pillars are presently the impetus for auxiliary initiatives that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also pursuing, such as the university of KAUST’s (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) tremendous capacity for technological and sport innovation and, collectively, one of its flagship endeavour: the conservation of marine ecosystems via the revival and resurgence of corals, spearheaded by the esteemed Professor Carlos Duarte, a globally renowned and leader expert in the field.

Thanks to Duarte’s involvement, E1 has evolved into an ideal platform for promoting the adoption of sustainable technologies and ocean conservation. Duarte is a pioneer and leader in research on corals, which are critical to biodiversity and ocean health. He has spent his career researching corals and understanding the factors that endanger their survival, such as climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction.

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His coral project at KAUST is especially noteworthy because it aims to save these delicate organisms through a multidisciplinary approach that combines scientific research, conservation, and public education. Duarte uses cutting-edge technology to develop innovative coral-protection and restoration strategies, collaborating with scientific institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations all over the world.

He has access to the world’s largest land-based and in situ ‘nursery’, and in addition to Saudi corals, they intend to assist the other most important coral ecosystems in the Red Sea, the Americas, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.

Kaust is also actively involved in the RaceBird’s development, studying and refining its foils, and researching and creating new propellers with the least amount of acoustic disturbance. However, in this instance, the research is made possible by the brilliance of an Italian engineer named Matteo Parsani, who regularly handles the CFD of McLaren and Boeing projects also.

Due to a lack of resources and sufficient “brains,” he, like all “outstanding” geniuses, thinks and works “out of the box,” looking for novel and uncharted territories in the field of powerboating. Professor Parsani possesses the drive and aptitude required to find any ground-breaking solutions, and if his findings hold up, they have the potential to completely alter the shipping industry’s regulations.

For this reason, he is actually researching the “secrets” of fish scales right now in an attempt to get creative inspiration for high-performance boat concepts. That remembers a similar way with which Leonardo da Vinci studied beech seed shapes and encouraged his heirs to do the same.

Author: Alex D’Agosta

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