Back in March 2019 Sami Seliö announced at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair that his F1H2O racing team will be competing under the colours of the third largest emirate in the UAE, Sharjah.
Over the weekend Seliö spoke to PRW and confirmed that a new ‘multi-year’ contract has been agreed with His Excellency Khalid bin Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who recently became the Vice President of the UAE Marine Sports Federation.
It’s a huge step in the right direction for the team and to have the backing of the Sharjah International Marine Sport Club is a massive thing for me. On a personal level it will allow me to pursue my third F1H2O Championship title as I still have the passion and the speed to well in F1.
Seliö is known for his exceptional pace and qualifying prowess, having won thirteen Grand Prix, and picked up thirty-five additional podium finishes including a third place at last year Grand Prix of Europe in San Nazzaro, Italy. Having qualified on pole position twenty-five times, it puts him third overall in the F1 record books.
Following the global COVID-19 epidemic more than 90% of the population in the UAE has now been fully vaccinated, and work has now been approved by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, and the Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah to build five brand new watersport training centres throughout Sharjah.
This will provide a new permanent base for the race team, along with facilities to teach sailing, rowing and junior powerboat racing using the GT10 class which Seliö has been the driving force behind it getting UIM international approval.
The twice F1H2O World Champion is the first to admit that it’s been very tough going, with just three F1H2O Grand Prix and six rounds of the UIM F2 World Championship taking place over the last twenty-four months. Having secured the mechanical services of Claudio Borra along with several key team personnel the Finn now knows that the shore side of his racing enterprise is stronger.
As to the driver line up for this season, Seliö is finally in a position where he can start evaluating who will be competing in the colours of Sharjah, including his son Sisu who has competed regularly at the RaceWKND events. One of those names on that entry form will be Sami Seliö.
I’m still not the oldest driver competing in F1H2O, so I have no reason to quit yet.