Monday, January 15: Two-time UIM F1H2O World Champion Sami Seliö has confirmed that he will manage and drive for the SMC F1 Team in 2024. Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen will team up with the Finn as the second driver.
The SMC F1 Team will be supported by Milwaukee, Finnmaster, Marina Racewear and Mauron Mussy, as Seliö and Zandbergen try to improve on a 2023 season running under the Sharjah Team banner where they finished ninth and fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and fourth in the Teams’ Championship behind Team Sweden, Team Abu Dhabi and the China CTIC Team.
Seliö has listed fellow Finn Kalle Viippo as the team’s reserve driver. The 25-year-old finished 13th in last year’s Drivers’ Championship, while racing for the triumphant Team Sweden.
Meanwhile, Team Abu Dhabi has confirmed that veteran Thani Al-Qamzi will lead the line-up for the 2024 campaign with Rashed Al-Qemzi signed up as the reserve driver under the authority of General Manager Salem Al-Remeithi and Team Manager Guido Cappellini. Officials at the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club have yet to announce the name of the team’s second driver.
In 2023, Thani Al-Qamzi missed the race in China and finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, while Rashed Al-Qemzi stood in for the Emirati in China and for the suspended Shaun Torrente in Sardinia before racing the team’s third boat in Sharjah.
He finished the season in 16th place, while three-time World Champion Torrente endured a disastrous title defence: after finishing ninth in Indonesia and second in China, he was disqualified in France, missed the race in Sardinia through suspension and was sidelined before the final race in the UAE after a spectacular crash in his sprint race.
The opening round of the 2024 UIM F1H2O World Championship will again be hosted by Indonesia and takes place on spectacular Lake Toba on February 23rd-25th.
The natural wonder is an immense volcanic lake occupying the caldera of a super volcano that was formed by a gigantic climate-changing eruption around 70,000 years ago. Toba Caldera is one of 20 geoparks in Indonesia and was recognised in 2020 as one of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Details about remaining teams and drivers will be announced in the coming days.