Ainslie gets help in bid to create winning formula
Ben Ainslie, a genius on the water, is turning to a genius off it in his bid to win the 35th America’s Cup.
Ainslie has brought in Adrian Newey, the Formula 1 designer, to design the wing-sailed foiling catamaran that Ben Ainslie Racing will use in their bid to capture the “Auld Mug” for Britain for the first time.
Newey is arguably the greatest designer in the history of the motorsport, having produced championship winning cars for Williams F1, McLaren, and most recently Red Bull Racing, helping drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel reach the pinnacle of their sport.
Now Newey and Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medal winner, will combine in a best-of-British partnership that sees Red Bull join forces with Ben Ainslie Racing.
“Ben Ainslie Racing are really excited to be partnering with Red Bull Advanced Technologies,” said Ainslie. “We are in a unique position in this country, and this campaign is about assimilating the very best of British in design and engineering — Red Bull Advanced Technologies epitomises this.
“This [the Auld Mug] is the last great historic sporting prize never won by Great Britain.
“It has always been my ambition to mount a home challenge. The time is right and I am hugely encouraged by the support we are getting, not least from the Duchess of Cambridge.”
Ainslie has already tasted success in the America’s Cup, having served as a tactician with Oracle Team USA in the 34th edition in San Francisco, and his decision to challenge this time around is based on belief that he can make history.
“I learned a great deal aboard Oracle in San Francisco and I would not be challenging if I did not believe we have a real chance of winning this time,” he said.
As with Formula 1 car design, information and testing are integral to producing a winning America’s Cup boat, and Ainslie, who is no stranger to the Island having won the Argo Group Gold Cup twice, will be in Bermuda next month with some of his team-mates for training.
“We will be there in January training for about ten days in small 20-foot training boats, which I think is really important for the team,” Ainslie said.
“I know Bermuda well and have been fortunate to spend a bit of time there. But the rest of the guys are not familiar with the venue and sailing conditions, that’s why we are coming as soon as possible.”
Any data the team record on local weather patterns will assist Newey in designing Ainslie’s AC45 and AC62 that will be specifically rigged to suit Bermuda’s conditions.
“It’s really just about the design philosophy and the trick with Bermuda is the fact that the wind varies a lot,” Ainslie said. “Bermuda will be tricky because one day you can have six knots of wind and then the next day it could be 20 knots of wind, so you have to be able to reconfigure your boat in a very short period of time — and that’s going to be a big challenge for everybody.”