Azerbaijan to host Grand Prix of Europe from 2016

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In the same week that Bernie Ecclestone confirmed Formula 1’s return to Mexico in 2015, a second new race for the schedule has also been revealed today with the return of the European Grand Prix.

The ‘Grand Prix of Europe’ will take place in Azerbaijan from 2016 at a street circuit in the nation’s capital, Baku.

The race has been widely speculated for some time, but the deal was officially confirmed by Azerbaijan sport minister Azad Rahimov today.

“I am delighted to officially announce that we have signed a contract to bring Formula 1 racing to Baku in 2016,” Rahimov said.

“Our location at the crossroads of eastern Europe and western Asia is a new frontier for Formula 1 racing. Azerbaijan is a modern European country that has established a reputation as a centre of sporting excellence.

“The deal to bring Formula 1 racing to Baku is a very significant new chapter in our ongoing success to attract the world’s largest sporting events to our country.”

Baku may not appear to have a reputation for motorsport, but it has hosted the Baku World Challenge – a race for GT cars – for the past two years. This has taken place during fall, but it is unclear when the grand prix will take place.

Bernie Ecclestone was delighted to confirm the news, saying: “We are very happy that Baku has joined the Formula 1 family. This will be a street race, which will pass through interesting and picturesque parts of Baku. The event will meet the current Formula 1 criteria.”

With the addition of Mexico and Azerbaijan, the provisional count for the calendar in 2016 is 21 grands prix. Currently, there is a limit of 20, but the if the teams agreed then this could be waived.

Ecclestone revealed earlier this week that the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey will take place in 2016 at the very earliest, but only if everything is in order at Port Imperial.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”