Sailing-Ainslie's INEOS Britannia teams up with F1's Mercedes for America's Cup challenge
By Alexander Smith
BRACKLEY, England (Reuters) - British sailor Ben Ainslie joined forces with the Applied Science division of Formula One's Mercedes motor racing team on Monday to launch his latest campaign to win the America's Cup.
Ainslie will skipper Britain's challenge to holders Emirates Team New Zealand for the world's oldest sporting trophy, with James Allison as technical lead as Chief Technical Officer for both INEOS Britannia and Mercedes-AMG Petronas.
German naval designer Martin Fischer will lead the design concept for Ainslie's third consecutive America's Cup challenge, which will once again be backed by chemicals giant INEOS and its founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe.
"Formula One and the America's Cup share this common theme that you need to be excellent in the sport and the technology," Ratcliffe told a briefing at the Mercedes team headquarters on the outskirts of Brackley in central England.
The America's Cup has always been defined as a design-driven event, with the fastest boat emerging as the winner, and in recent editions it has reached new levels of technical sophistication and speed with craft which "fly" above the water on hydrofoils.
"The boat wasn't good enough," Radcliffe said of the British team's attempt to win the America's Cup in Auckland in 2021, adding that the team would also be putting together some of the best sailors under the command of veteran sailor Ainslie.
"We've brought in some fresh new talent," Ainslie said of his new-look team, which will include British sailor Giles Scott, who won gold in the Finn class at the Tokyo Olympics.
The venue and timing for the 37th edition of the America's Cup has yet to be decided, with a return to Auckland not ruled out despite high-profile disagreements within New Zealand.
(Reporting by Alexander Smith; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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