The inaugural BBC Green Sport Awards intend to recognise organisations and athletes who use their respective sport to help raise climate awareness. Five categories are included, with the Young Athlete of the Year and Ambition & Impact Awards featuring nominees from the world of motorsport: Ellis Spiezia is in the running for the former, while Extreme E and McLaren Racing are on the latter’s shortlist.
Spiezia is a sixteen-year-old who competes in the ERA Championship, an electric open-wheel junior series. He won the pole for the inaugural race at Circuit Zolder in July and finished fourth in what would be the championship’s lone event of 2022 as multiple dates were called off due to logistical troubles. The American is a major advocate for electric motorsport, partly owing to his longtime interest in sim racing, and many of the real-life disciplines he competes in are electrically powered. In 2021, he finished runner-up for the first Project E20 Euro Trophy, an electric karting series.
“I am excited and honored to be one of five nominees for the BBC Green Sport Awards Young Athlete of the Year,” posted Spiezia on social media. “Being an advocate and ambassador for climate action through electric motorsport is my passion. We’ll see who wins at the Sport Positive Summit next week. (I’m a racing driver— you know I love a competition!)”
Spiezia will be competing with cricketer Joe Cooke, table tennis player Anna Hursey, fellow American and Major League Soccer defender Zoe Morse, and Norwegian midfielder Morten Thorsby.
Extreme E is probably a very unsurprising candidate for an award focused on green sport. Now in its second season, the electric off-road series has been open about promoting environmental awareness with Legacy Programmes at each round and desire to leave as little of a footprint as possible with races in remote locations and few attendees.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised at BBC Sport’s first-ever Green Awards,” said Extreme E Chief Marketing Officer Ali Russell. “The championship is amongst esteemed company who are all contributing hugely to raising awareness of the climate crisis and promoting the importance of sustainability.
“Extreme E’s purpose is to highlight the significance of climate change and the ever-changing world around us. As we reach the final round of only our second season, we will endeavour to continue using the power of sport for positive impact.”
Although McLaren Racing competes in Extreme E, their nomination is directed at their Formula One division. McLaren intends to cut their carbon emissions in half by 2030 before reaching full neutrality by 2040 as part of the “Net Zero” programme, including a fully circular sustainable race car by that point.
In 2021, McLaren hired Kim Wilson as Director of Sustainability and signed the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Commitment and Race to Zero pledge. A year later, they began competing in Extreme E and Formula E under the NEOM McLaren Electric Racing name.
Other nominees for the Ambition & Impact Award are the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games (BOCCG), SailGP, and Southampton Football Club.
The winners will be announced on the BBC Sport website on 4 October.