Owners of the largest lithium resource in Europe, Vulcan Energy (ASX: VUL) is set for a big increase in marketing exposure with the signing of Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula One World Champion, as their brand ambassador along with his Rosberg X Racing (RXR) team in the Extreme-E racing league.
Extreme-E, a racing league, is specifically focused on the environmental sustainability of motor sport with vehicles being electric SUVs that compete in extremely remote locations to draw attention to the increasing effects of climate change.
Rosberg himself, has become a prominent sustainability entrepreneur since retiring from F1 and has since taken over the RXR team which was first established by his father Keke, the 1982 F1 World Champion.
Under the partnership, RXR cars will commence carrying the Vulcan Energy branding, and be an advocate for the Company’s Zero Carbon Lithium Project. The project intends to be the world’s first lithium producer with net zero greenhouse gas emissions, producing battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
“The Extreme E championship has already achieved worldwide recognition as the future of motorsport – exciting, environmentally-focused and equitable – and the RXR team are leading the way, powered by lithium-ion batteries,” said Vulcan Managing Director, Dr Francis Wedin.
“As the leader in sustainable battery metals, this is an excellent fit to raise global awareness for Vulcan’s Zero Carbon Lithium™ business. Environmentalism is in the DNA of both teams, and we also share German-Australian origins. We welcome leading sustainability entrepreneur Nico Rosberg, and the RXR team as partners and shareholders of Vulcan, and we look forward to a productive relationship together.”
Unlike other F1 drivers, Rosberg retired from the sport at the height of his career after winning the 2016 World Championship to concentrate on his eco-entrepreneur ambitions, capitalising on his expert engineering knowledge. In doing so, he walked away from a $136m contract that was on the table for him to continue driving.
Although Extreme-E may not hold the same public recognition in Australia as F1, other top drivers agree that sustainability will have a major role in the future of motor sports with 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton also investing, owning the X44 team. Other team owners include 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button who is the owner-driver of his JBXE team while US motorsport giants Andretti Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing also own teams.
While Daniel Riccardo and Mark Webber will long be the most likely Australians to be tied to international motor sports, Aussies Molly Taylor and Emma Gilmour drive for RXR and Veloce Racing respectively where one requirement of the league is that teams must have one male and one female driver. Each share a car and have equal driving duties.
“We are thrilled to announce Vulcan as our new official partner. It’s exhilarating to be partnering with such an innovative and sustainability focused company like Vulcan and we look forward to collaborating for years to come with their team,” said Nico Rosberg.
The 2-year partnership agreement will see Vulcan issue Rosberg with 89,165 VUL shares which based on the last close price, values the deal at $1.13 million with shares issued in three Tranche payments and escrowed for 9 months from the issue of each.
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