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Agag defends Extreme E visiting wealthy economies in climate push

Extreme E co-founder Alejandro Agag has offered his defence for the championship racing in some of the world’s richest economies during its inaugural 2021 season.

Alejandro Agag, CEO, Extreme E Sara Price, Chip Ganassi Racing at the grid draw

The all-electric SUV off-road racing series exists to draw a greater audience to the climate crisis by engaging viewers with the spectacle of motorsport in remote locations.

But the calendar for its first season has taken some flak for kicking off in the oil rich nation of Saudi Arabia before concluding in Sardinia, Italy and then Dorset, England.

While the final two events were added to the calendar as replacement venues, with travel restrictions forcing the intended Argentina and Brazil rounds to be canned, sceptics have raised the point that these economies are vastly rich enough to help combat climate change without Extreme E.

But Agag has responded by saying the championship exists to more “explain” the issues which are destroying local environments rather than to “help” with widescale, hands-on initiatives.

The Spaniard told Autosport: “Our objective is not really to help where we go, our objective is to explain what's going on.

“The truth is that we were supposed to be in the rainforest right now [Amazon, Brazil] and we're not there - the reason is, of course, the pandemic.

“But at the same time, I have found really huge effects of climate change so close to home. And this was not in our initial idea, our concept was to go super far.”

Agag reckoned the experience of racing in Sardinia had drawn attention to the benefits of retaining at least one round in mainland Europe on future calendars.

Molly Taylor, Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing

Molly Taylor, Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing

Photo by: Charly Lopez / Motorsport Images

In contrast to the logistical difficulties of Greenland and Senegal, and with the easing of some restrictions, the Sardinia event was well attended by media and special guests.

Agag said he hoped the championship organisers could use such a popular platform to encourage more people to cover the events and as such, fulfil the original mission statement to attract a large audience.

He has also previously defended the decision to open the season in Saudi Arabia, saying it was in line with the absence of sanctions on the country from international governments.

Continuing his reply to sceptics, Agag said: "Everywhere you can find something, some story to tell, and this is our mission.

“So, our mission is not really to help. We're not like a humanitarian organisation.

“Everyone can help privately but we are a motor racing championship that uses motorsport to break the bubble and to and to bring environmental action, a message, to a wider audience, to a motorsport audience.”

The debut Extreme E campaign concludes at the Bovington military base in Dorset next weekend.

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