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F1 champion Button’s Extreme E team confirmed for 2022

Button, who played in the inaugural race in AlUla, Saudi Arabia last year before stepping down for Kevin Hansen, was candid about his team’s chances of a comeback this year.

He told Autosport at the 2021 final event in Dorset that “I’m looking forward to being involved if we can find more funding. There is still work to be done to find major partners.

In recent weeks, series bosses had renewed their faith in the return of the JBXE outfit, but it took until the week of the Neom, Saudi Arabia round for the line-up to be locked down.

JBXE will retain the services of World Rallycross event winner Hansen, who led the team to third place in the standings alongside teammate Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky.

Adding to concern over the future of JBXE, Ahlin-Kottulinsky was then signed for 2022 by defending champion team Rosberg X Racing to partner Johan Kristoffersson.

It left Molly Taylor, who 2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg signed via a direct message on her website, without a drive despite winning three of five rounds last season.

Molly Taylor, Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing with Nico Rosberg, Founder and CEO, Rosberg X Racing celebrate the championship

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport pictures

But the 2016 Australian national rally champion has now landed what was initially a one-off deal with Hansen at JBXE for the February 19-20 event in the Saudi city on the straight.

Taylor – who cited “complex realities that exist in motorsport, often beyond a driver’s control” behind the split with RXR – said: “I’ve had an amazing year with Extreme E in 2021 and I believe wholeheartedly in that the competition represents both with respect to its commitment to sustainability and gender equality.

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“Having had the advantage of a championship win last year, when the call came to join the JBXE team ahead of this weekend’s race, I thought why not.

“I can’t wait to get my teeth into the Desert X-Prix this weekend.”

While there is no confirmation that JBXE and Taylor will play the full five-round campaign in 2022, it does ensure that Extreme E moves to a 10-team grid for the new season.

Although McLaren Racing is making its series debut this weekend with drivers Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour, Xite Energy Racing’s participation was also uncertain.

It was believed that Xite Energy, the crucial support of the Hispano Suiza racing team, was considering a split as team partner and general sponsor of the series. However, company founder Oliver Bennett has stayed put and will continue to race.

The Bristolian will have official reserve series driver Tamara Molinaro as a teammate for a one-off, after new signing Klara Andersson tested positive for COVID-19.

Button added: “Being able to bring Molly into the team is fantastic news for JBXE.

“Having won the championship last year, she obviously brings a huge amount to the table, so I’m incredibly excited to see her and Kevin in action this weekend.”

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