Nico Rosberg tells of his willingness to befriend Lewis Hamilton
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Former Formula One champion-turned-green-tech entrepreneur Nico Rosberg hailed the UK’s push to transition away from fossil fuels, which he said that Britain is leading the way in, during an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. Mr Rosberg, although he once ran rings around rival Sir Lewis Hamilton on the racecourse back in his heyday, has moved on to greener pastures in his older (but still young) age as he tries to make a difference in the world. Stepping down from F1 back in 2016, just days after being crowned champion in Abu Dhabi Mr Rosberg has since been involved in setting up the Greentech Festival.
And this week, the Greentech Festival was hosted in London, where a range of green entrepreneurs and innovative companies showcased their products and shared their ideas with each other in the united fight against climate change.
But the decision to host the festival here in Britain was not random. Mr Rosberg told Express.co.uk: “You [the UK] can be proud because as a country you are at the forefront, and are leading the way and have engaged at accelerating the green transition.
“Whether it is public transport in London or offshore wind energy it is the perfect place for us to be. The welcome that we have received has been phenomenal.
“You are also one of the traliblazers when it comes to trying to hit those Paris Agreement goals, (which are) halving emissions by 2030, net zero by 2050, you can be proud of what your country is doing. While the country is still going too slowly, it is still one of those leading ones. Straight away, there was so much interest because as a country you are very close to this topic.”
But while the former racer has turned his eyes to the green sector, that does not mean his need for speed has gone completely out the window. In fact, Mr Rosberg now leads Team Rosberg in Extreme E, an electric off-road racing series that is carbon-free.
And while F1 fans might miss the days when Mr Rosberg and Sir Lewis clashed on the tracks, it appears as though that rivalry is still in full flow. In somewhat of a blast from the past, Mr Rosberg’s team will come up against Sir Lewis’ X44 Vida Carbon Racing Extreme E team in the world championship which starts in just 41 days.
Last year, Mr Rosberg’s team took the crown, and he reckons his team has got what it takes to defend the title in the upcoming race. He told Express.co.uk: “This year it is head-to-head again. We are first and second. One race to go.”
Mr Rosberg said jokingly: “Lewis Hamilton always finishes second, I am always first, so I am very confident and it is looking good.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk last year during COP26, Mr Rosberg hailed the sport’s green credentials. He said: “The Extreme E cars are powered by green hydrogen, which is created on-site using solar energy and then the green hydrogen is used to create the electricity for the cars.
“Extreme E is really trying to trailblaze a zero-carbon footprint in sports.
“But not only is it being a good role model, but it also gets involved with a lot of charitable initiatives at each race and really helps the local areas with destructive effects of climate change.”
While Extreme E waves the flag for being a genuinely green sport, F1, while clearly still being an emission-heavy sport, is taking steps to go greener.
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Mr Rosberg said: “By 2025, the events are going to be considered sustainable, which Zandvoort in Holland has been leading the way in as 75 percent of the visitors arrive by either bicycle or public transport, as that is a big part of the footprint.
“Of course, they will use green energy to power the event…and by 2030 they are hoping to go carbon neutral completely.”
F1 will also ensure that sustainable materials are used at all events with single-use plastics being eliminated and all waste reused, recycled or composted.
It will also offer incentives and tools to offer every fan a greener way to arrive at each race and make sure that circuits and facilities enhance fan well-being and nature, providing opportunities for local people, businesses and causes to get more involved in the action during an F1 race weekend.
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