Rafael Nadal becomes E1 Series team owner for all-electric raceboat championship

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during a practice session (Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during a practice session (Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has joined Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez to become a team owner in the world’s first all-electric raceboat championship.

The Spaniard, who is preparing to defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne, will be part of the inaugural E1 UIM boat racing series.

The first championship, sanctioned by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), begins in 2023 with the 22-time grand slam winner welcomed by the Red Bull driver, who is the face of Team Mexico.

“Hola Rafa! It’s Checo Perez. It is great to hear that you are joining the (UIM) E1 World Championship with Team Spain,” Perez said.

“I know you have 22 Grand Slams, but let’s see who is the champion of the water in E1 . Vamos!”

Nadal said in response: “Checo! Your car is very fast but I as you know I’m from an island, so the water controls how far I can go! I’m always waiting for the races and it’s been real pleasure getting to know you. See you soon, a warm embrace and good luck with everything.”

Team Nadal will use a yellow livery to match up with his tennis racket, with the sport’s goal to emphasise clean mobility and restore marine ecosystems.

“I love boats, I love competition and at the same time I know the E1 (UIM) World Championship will help electric technology in the nautical world, so very excited about that,” he said.

“At the same time, I am a competitor. I know it’s going to be a worldwide competition between great teams, so I am excited to be part of (it). And on the other hand, I know the tour around the world will help oceans to restore and protect the biodiversity.

“I know all around, around all the races there are going to be programmes to protect and to restore marine eco-systems. Something that’s super interesting – and especially because I love the ocean, so I’ll be able to be part of something that important, makes me feel so happy.”

Nadal’s move is in collaboration with the Rafa Nadal Academy, meaning the Blue Action Programme’s Professor Carlos Duarte, who is a chief scientist at E1, will work with the Spaniard to improve his academy’s sustainability initiatives.

“I am super excited to share all these experiences with Carlos Duarte, who is one of the top scientists, recognised in the world,” Nadal added.

“I’m going to be living the programmes of Blue Action around E1 races and I think we’re going to learn a lot. And we’re going to do amazing, beautiful things. So I’m super excited about that and I can’t wait to share all these experiences with Carlos.”

There will be up to 10 teams in the first E1 Series, including Nadal’s yet to be named team, Perez’s Team Mexico and Venice Racing Team.

Each team will use an identical RaceBird boat for two seasons alongside two pilots, with eight races in the calendar.