“A key foundation is to leave a positive legacy wherever we race, whether it be charging points or cleaner waters.”
What were you doing before and how did you join E1? (Asher Erskine) My training is in industrial design, but I’ve always enjoyed working across different disciplines. I started in architecture with AL_A, based in London, at the time of their V&A Museum project, before moving to Milan. There I worked with luxury design brand Sawaya & Moroni, who design everything from furniture to hotels and yachts. Before E1, I was with Dentsu, one of Europe’s largest advertising agencies, and with materials science company PANGAIA. This was during an exciting time when they were experiencing massive growth.
(AE) I reached out to E1 after seeing some early concepts of the boat. It really caught my attention and I remember thinking that’s something I would love to do. My first work was on some visuals using the legendary Fairmont hairpin in Monte Carlo and within a month we drove around it during our launch event at the Monaco Yacht Club. It was surreal and my first glimpse into the pace and excitement of the racing industry.
“We looked at icons in sport and technology that have stood the test of time.”
You recently went through a complete rebrand of E1. What was the main source of the inspiration? (AE) Many factors ultimately informed the new direction. We were lucky to work with the talented team at Mother Design and together we discussed how E1 presents a unique challenge. At our core, we’re a racing series on water. However, E1 is also very much in the technology and innovation space, with equal importance on marine restoration.
(AE) As a world-first series, there was a sense of designing in uncharted waters, quite literally in this sense. An electric raceboat world championship hasn’t existed until now. Despite this, inspiration can come from anywhere and there’s an inexhaustible history of brands to turn to. We looked at icons in sport and technology that have stood the test of time, such as Nike and NASA. We referenced the colours and patterns of water in our graphic language, while the twisting curves of racetracks informed our font. The new logo is fluid and dynamic, mirroring the futuristic lines of the RaceBird. The result is a whole new brand identity that feels beautifully interconnected and considered.
“The action is inshore, in harbours and ports.”
How is E1 different from other raceboat championships? (AE) E1 is the first championship of its kind, thanks in part to a boat that is also a world first. It’s a unique mix of a speedboat on foils and 100% electric. This will make the racing itself a true spectacle. Pilots will navigate challenging courses that push their skills to the limits of what’s possible on water. Necessary to this, we’re recruiting athletes from varied sporting backgrounds who can bring a unique skill set to the challenge. The action is inshore, in harbours and ports, closer than ever before in traditional boat racing. Beyond racing, a key foundation is to leave a positive legacy wherever we race, whether it be charging points or cleaner waters.
Which cities have E1 officially inaugurated so far? (AE) Monaco has been confirmed, as well as Rotterdam for a pre-season showcase in 2023 and is also on the official calendar from 2024 onwards. Without revealing too much, we’re in conversation with some stunning locations, including having an operational hub in Venice. More will be announced soon!
“Life in Venice revolves around its waterways.”
Why are places like Venice and Monaco important for E1 races? (AE) They are both iconic for their connection to water and I was struck by a timeless sense of beauty in both. Life in Venice revolves around its waterways. There are no roads, so everything is done by boat. Venetians share a deep connection to the water as it’s ingrained in everyday life. Racing in Venice will be an amazing opportunity to celebrate this and raise vital awareness of marine protection and restoration. Monaco shares a similarly rich history and importantly with racing – combining these at an E1 race will be something very special. Monaco is also of significant importance, as it’s where the series was first announced and the design of the RaceBird unveiled.
How many teams are there to challenge and how many races will be there throughout the season? (AE) We’re targeting 10 teams and 10 races in the first season, including Sergio Perez’s Team Mexico and Venice Racing Team. Teams importantly comprise of male and female pilots, as the goal is to have a truly diverse sport.
“I wanted people to see it and think, ‘of course that’s Checo’s boat’.”
F1 driver Sergio Perez will be having his own E1 team, what can you tell us about the livery of his racing boat? (AE) For SergioPerez I wanted something striking and memorable. It was great to have a starting point with his SP11 branding and use that to build upon. The goal was to have something that would fly the flag for Team Mexico and be instantly recognisable. We all know he’s a force on track and competes with fire and passion, so I wanted people to see it and think, ‘of course that’s Checo’s boat’.
“It’s inevitable to get caught up in the excitement surrounding electrification.”
Why do you think that electrification is so important? (AE) Working in such close proximity to Formula E and Extreme E, it’s inevitable to get caught up in the excitement surrounding electrification. There’s something of a compounding effect having all three of Alejandro’s companies that share such aligned missions while all occupying the same floor in our London office. With the infrastructure and technology accelerating exponentially, it’s impossible to ignore the seismic shift in different industries towards electric mobility and the need for accelerated progress towards a better future. A few years ago there was a stigma that electrification was somehow uncool, but I think it’s fair to say that no longer holds up.
“I think your immediate environment makes an immeasurable impact on your whole state of being.”
If you could design any object you wish, what would that be? (AE) I’ve always dreamed of designing a house. I was taken to see a HUF Haus (a German prefab home) when I was little, and it made such a lasting impression. I’ve always been obsessed with spaces and details. I taught myself CAD when I was younger and recreated our entire home from memory, room for room, even down to the objects. I think your immediate environment makes an immeasurable impact on your whole state of being, especially for creatives who are hypersensitive to such things. I love how Brancusi summed this up as ‘architecture is inhabited sculpture’, which makes perfect sense when you realise sculpture exists to make you feel a certain way. This links back to what first caught my eye with E1. The RaceBird is like a piece of moving sculpture.
What are you interested in these days and why? (AE) Art, film, music, reading, swimming. I think it helps to have lots of different interests that you can use to draw inspiration from and maybe into your work. I feel incredibly fortunate that my interests overlap so massively with what I’m doing at E1. If you enjoy what you’re doing, your mind is drawn to it even when you’re not working, and I notice this all the time. It’s a hugely exciting time for E1 and I can’t wait to see how things continue to take shape as we get closer to racing.