By Alexander Smith
– Red Bull has teamed up with Swiss sailing syndicate Alinghi to challenge for the America’s Cup, marking the second such Formula One deal after INEOS Britannia joined forces with Mercedes.
As America’s Cup yachts have evolved into high-speed, “foiling” machines which “fly” above the water on hydrofoils, the adrenaline fuelled sport has increasingly been referred to as Formula One on water and is now using much of the same technology and design, as well as attracting its cash.
Alinghi, founded by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, won the America’s Cup in 2003 and 2007 but have not competed for the oldest trophy in international sport in over a decade. Holders Emirates Team New Zealand have already been challenged by Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Britannia and others are expected to follow.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing will represent the Societe Nautique de Geneve yacht club in its challenge for the 37th America’s Cup, which is due to be held in 2024, the new team said in a statement which coincided with a launch event in Geneva.
Despite being land-locked, Switzerland has attracted top talent since Bertarelli set his sights on sailing’s most coveted prize, as well as spawning a generation of home-grown stars.
“We want for this challenge to do something totally different, totally new, totally fresh,” Bertarelli said, describing Red Bull, which has been a rival in events such as the GC32 and Extreme Sailing, as providing the “wings”.
A core crew led by Alinghi’s GC32 co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis will begin training to prepare “a 100% Swiss Made crew”, the team said on Tuesday.
Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner said Red Bull Advanced Technologies would share experiences and engineering tips with Alinghi Red Bull Racing in a “two-way cooperation”.
For Alinghi’s Brad Butterworth, a four-time winner of the America’s Cup, the Red Bull partnership marks a new chapter.
“The America’s Cup is a technology race which is won on the water with race strategy and tactics. Red Bull has demonstrated that time and time again in F1 and in many of the other sports it competes in,” Butterworth said.