Hedda Hosås er klar for tredje sesong i Extreme E som innledes neste helg i Saudi Arabia. Hedda får der finske Heikki Kovalainen som partner i teamet til Jenson Button, JBXE.
-Jeg er spent foran min andre sesong for JBXE, og jeg ser frem til å kjøre sammen med en så erfaren fører som Heikki som har bakgrunn både fra Formel 1 og Rally, sier Hedda Hosås.
Extreme E 2023
Saudi Arabia: 11-12 March 2023
Scotland, UK: 13-14 May 2023
Sardinia, Italy: 08-09 July 2023
Amazon or USA: 16-17 September 2023
Chile 02-03: December 2023
Pressemelding fra Extreme E
Formula One winner Heikki Kovalainen joins JBXE to partner Hedda Hosås for Extreme E Season 3
3 March 2023, London: Former Formula One winner Heikki Kovalainen has signed for JBXE to drive alongside Hedda Hosås for Extreme E Season 3.
After finishing third in Season 1, Jenson Button’s outfit dropped to ninth in the standings last term – despite securing a podium finish in NEOM Island X Prix I. JBXE will be aiming to bounce back with their new driver line-up in 2023 with their Nordic duo behind the wheel.
Jenson Button, Team Owner of JBXE, said: «Delighted to be announcing Heikki as our new male driver and also to have Hedda continue with the team! To bring such an established name from the world of motorsport and someone I had the pleasure of racing against in Formula One is brilliant for the team and the series.
“Following his move into the world of rally, it was a no brainer for the team to approach him and I’m over the moon he’s agreed to join the team and equally delighted to be keeping Hedda after she has continued to make great progress in the car, she fully deserves her place.»
Kovalainen secured his single career victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix, becoming the 100th driver to win a Formula One race. The 41-year-old becomes the fourth F1 name to enter Extreme E as he joins team owners Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, with whom he is all too familiar.
In his early career, the Finn finished runner-up in the Formula One junior series, GP2, behind Rosberg, while he was a team-mate to Hamilton when competing for McLaren in Formula One during 2008 and 2009 – claiming his sole victory and pole position for the team which now also contests in Extreme E.
Kovalainen raced in Formula One from 2007 to 2013, where as well as McLaren, the Finn represented Renault, Team Lotus, Caterham and Lotus F1 Team, securing four podiums in total.
Following his success in Formula One, Kovalainen switched to the Japanese Super GT series in 2015, winning the championship a year later before changing lanes to take on the world of off-road motorsport full-time.
Driving for JBXE this season will not be Kovalainen’s first outing in off-road racing. That moment came when Kovalainen competed in the Race of Champions (ROC), a feat he would take on five times between 2004 and 2010. His debut saw Kovalainen overcome motorsport legends David Coulthard, Jean Alesi, Michael Schumacher and Sébastien Loeb on his way to victory at his very first attempt. The Finn also won the ROC Nations Cup with Marcus Grönholm in 2006.
Kovalainen’s first foray into rallying in Japan came in 2016 and has since competed in the Japan Rally Championship, where he dominated the JN-2 class championship to clinch the title with a round to spare, the Japan Super Rally Series and made his World Rally Championship debut at last year’s Rally Japan in a WRC2 car.
Extreme E’s marks Kovalainen’s latest venture in off-road racing but first time in an all-electric championship, as he teams up with Hosås to take on some of the most challenging environments in motorsport.
Heikki Kovalainen, JBXE, said: «I’m really excited to join JBXE in the Extreme E series in Saudi Arabia! It’s a great championship with great teams and drivers so I’m looking forward to competing with them.
“It’ll be something new again in my career. After my Formula One stint I’ve done GTs as well as some rallying and I’m always looking for new challenges and looking forward to giving this a try. It’ll be a steep learning curve no doubt but I’m up for it and hopefully we’ll get up to speed quickly.”
Currently a Veloce Racing Development Driver, Hosås has competed in Extreme E for JBXE since the double-header in Sardinia last term. Hosås made her series debut at the opening round of Season 2 last year, stepping in for the injured Christine GZ at Veloce Racing in Saudi Arabia, before switching to Jenson Button’s outfit at the next round.
The Norwegian teamed up with Kevin Hansen in the number 22 car and the Scandinavian duo raced to third place in the NEOM Island X Prix I, marking the podium on her debut for JBXE.
Hosås’ early career comprised largely of motocross competition before making the transition to rallycross. More recently, she has been competing in the Norwegian Rallycross Championship and made a guest appearance in the Danish championship in 2021.
Hedda Hosås, JBXE, said: «Super excited to be driving again for my second season with JBXE in Extreme E. To have the support and expertise of both Jenson and Heikki, two ex F1 drivers, will help me to continue my development as a driver.
“NEOM was my first ever race in the series when I stepped in as a reserve driver last year, so incredibly excited to be going back to where it started for me. I’m looking forward to working with my new team mate Heikki, he has a lot of experience from F1 to rally so I am sure he will adapt to Extreme E very quickly.»
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer, said: I’m absolutely delighted to see such a strong pairing and how Extreme E has brought in a renowned former Formula One driver into our Championship, I cannot wait to see their journey start in NEOM for the Desert X Prix.
“With crossovers from both worlds of motorsport, this is fantastic to see for our series, reinforcing our approach to building a family with the best of motorsport to tackle climate change.”
Kovalainen will make his Extreme E debut alongside Hosås at the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, on 11-12 March.
As part of the all-electric series’ new sporting format, the Finn will have two shots at his first Extreme E victory, as all X Prix weekends become double-headers in Season 3, for double the racing but zero the impact on the environment.
To learn more about Extreme E, visit – www.Extreme-E.com