America’s Cup: British designer Luna Rossa, poacher, strengthens Mercedes F1 bond


Sir Ben Ainslie has stepped up his Britannia challenge for the upcoming America's Cup.

COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi

Sir Ben Ainslie has stepped up his Britannia challenge for the upcoming America’s Cup.

The British have poached lead designer Luna Rossa and have seriously stepped up their partnership with Formula 1 giants Mercedes to launch a heavyweight challenge for the America’s Cup.

Sir Ben Ainslie, who will once again be skipper and team leader of the INEOS Britannia Challenge, unveiled a powerful team of core staff on Tuesday (NZT), laying the glove at Mercedes F1 headquarters in Brackley, UK -United.

As indicated by Thing, their chief designer Kiwi Nick Holroyd has moved on. He was replaced by the very experienced naval designer, Martin Fischer. Born in Germany, Fischer was recently a key part of Luna Rossa’s design team for two America’s Cup campaigns, having spent 14 years working on the design of hulls and appendages for numerous projects.

Mercedes F1 heavyweights James Allison, left, and Toto Wolff are in the America's Cup match with Sir Ben Ainsle.

Charles Coates / Getty Images

Mercedes F1 heavyweights James Allison, left, and Toto Wolff are in the America’s Cup match with Sir Ben Ainsle.

Having had late boats in the last two America’s Cups, the British are eager to find a weapon for this edition and will benefit from a serious boost from the brains of Mercedes F1 who only joined their last campaign late.

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James Allison will be the technical manager as technical director of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team and now Britannia. He played a key role in creating 13 F1 Constructors’ Championship winning cars.

Through Mercedes’ Applied Science Division, Geoffrey Willis will devote himself to Britannia as Technical Director, having previously worked in the America’s Cup with Peter de Savary’s Blue Arrow Challenge.

With aerodynamics playing such an important role in the performance of 75-foot foiled monohulls, Mercedes excellence in this area will be key. There can be no mistake with the teams allowed to build a single racing boat in this 37th cycle of yachting’s most prestigious event.

“We have to level up to take on the mighty Kiwis, the All Blacks of sailing,” Ainslie told media at the launch.

INEOS Britannia

The world champions Mercedes embark on the AC37

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose fortune will once again be behind the British campaign, added: “What we learned in New Zealand was that we had a sailing team capable of winning the America’s Cup, but the boat was not good enough.

“If we don’t have a boat on the start line that can win, it’s like putting Lewis (Hamilton) in a slow car. He might be a very, very good driver, but he’s not going to win. in a slow car.

“But having a fast boat is no guarantee of winning. The goal of the team is to get to the start line with a boat that has the potential to win.”

Ainslie also confirmed the retention of key sailor, tactician and Finnish Olympic gold medalist Giles Scott.

The America’s Cup is expected to have an increased presence with strong discussions between F1 giants Red Bull and Swiss yachting team Alinghi expected to return to the scene.

This will take the intense rivalry between Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes-AMG’s Toto Wolff to another level.

There has been speculation that Holroyd is part of Alinghi’s design program.

Allison believes Mercedes’ influence on the UK challenge can be substantial this time around, given they join them early in this cycle.

“Last time around, we were experiencing some of the hardships the team had endured,” Allison said at the launch.

“We were able to see and we tried to reduce some of those difficulties and help the boat become more competitive. But we knew that to fix some of them we would need a time machine, to come back a little earlier, make a few decisions differently at the start of the campaign – and then it could have worked in a different direction.

If Jim Ratcliffe, center-back with his British team, continues to support the British attempts to win the America's Cup.

COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi

If Jim Ratcliffe, center-back with his British team, continues to support the British attempts to win the America’s Cup.

“We are now at the start of a new campaign with the combined learning of the INEOS team and what we [Mercedes-AMG Petronas] played in the last, and what we’ve seen, coupled with all the people who have joined other campaigns.

“We try to bring everything together, so our combined knowledge is pooled from the start, so we don’t want to have a time machine in two years. We feel like we entered this complicated design space in a good way to create the boat Jim is talking about – a boat that is good enough to win. “

Ainslie described the F1 environment as “infectious” as the partnership flourishes.

“When you come to Brackley it’s extremely impressive,” he said.

“We’ve been working here for three or four months – the discipline you feel when you come in and work with guys is contagious. For our organization, we need this level of collaboration if we are to take it to the next level, it’s the focus and attention that we need. “


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