2019 World Solar Challenge update

Nuon, now Vattenfall, at the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (photo: Anthony Dekker)

An update on the 53 teams (27 Challengers, 25 Cruisers, and 1 Adventure car) interested in the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge this October. The big news is that defending champions Nuon have changed their name to Vattenfall.

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This page last updated 23:29 on 17 February 2019 AEDT


13 thoughts on “2019 World Solar Challenge update

  1. Nuon’s name change introduces an interesting new dynamic of national identity. Clearly, with Vattenfall deciding to eradicate the Nuon name, the team had little choice in the matter but I wonder how the Netherlands public will react, either consciously or sub-consciously, to both the team and the energy company.
    My car, a Toyota, was made in Derbyshire but will never, in my eyes be a British car. On the other hand the Mini is clearly British despite the fact that it is now produced by BMW and most of the parts are shipped in from Europe. Similarly any Jaguar, Land Rover or Range Rover is a British icon and I will choose to ignore the fact that it is Indian owned and could have been built in one of a multitude of countries around the world.
    Elsewhere, In Formula 1 racing, the Red Bull team is accepted as Austrian, The Mercedes team German and the Haas team American despite all of their cars being produced in the UK.
    Will Nuna X be seen as Dutch or Swedish, or both?

      • They have said that they will continue to wear orange shirts so that will help. But Vattenfall’s colours are quite clearly Swedish so I wonder what colour the car will be.

      • There are certainly brand transition issues, but they have a history of handling branding issues well. My guess is that they will continue to emphasise their Dutchness. And with 4 Dutch teams in play, WSC is going to be huge in the Dutch media.

    • In the Netherlands they are usually referenced by the university name or city (i.e. “Technische Universiteit Delft” or simply “Delft”). So I do not know how much of an issue this is for the sort of people actually interested in SR (I do not think “nationalists” care about it).

  2. I have no doubt about their (Nuon’s) ability to handle the branding issues. The point is that the public’s perception of them is partly sub-conscious and therefore beyond their control. I do not know the Dutch psyche well so I cannot guess what their nationality means to them.
    If the perception follows that of F1 then the team may well be seen as Swedish whether they like it or not, particularly outside of their own country. After all the “French” Renault team was just a few years ago the “British” Lotus team. A little further back the Jaguar team became the “Austrian” Red Bull Team. In both these, and other, cases the factories remained the same but the nationality changed with the name of the sponsor.
    I think that they will be well advised to emphasise TU Delft wherever possible.

  3. As a Dutchy following solar racing for a while, I think “we” will feel just a mild and short-lived disappointment but after an eye blink will continue our support as before. Since you mentioned the F1 reference: Most of the Dutch, both people and businesses, are big fans of Dutch F1 hero Max Verstappen even though he is in the Austrian-UK Red Bull team. No worries mate!

  4. Hi Erik
    You mean Max, the Belgian driver from Monaco? Yeah he has a huge following. When Lewis eventually retires he’ll probably do quite well. I’m afraid that as a Renault supporter I have to hope that Red Bull’s new engine lets them down this year.
    As to Nuon, perhaps it will double their support.

    • Oh yes. Seriously though, he needs a couple more years to grow up. He’s a great driver but he hasn’t yet learned to make enough of the right decisions. When he does he’ll take some beating, if he has the right car of course.

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