Alinghi confirm America's Cup entry with F1 champs Red Bull

Source: 1News

Former America's Cup holders Alinghi have confirmed their return to the regatta while adding some serious firepower in the form of a partnership with Formula 1 champions Red Bull Racing.

Ernesto Bertarelli and Hans Peter Steinacher of Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli announced in Geneva on Wednesday the Swiss syndicate has entered the next regatta after an 11-year hiatus.

Alinghi was the team that took the Auld Mug from Team New Zealand in 2003 and defended it in 2007 before BMW Oracle Racing became the new holders in 2010.

Since then, Alinghi has not participated in the last three regattas but Bertarelli confirmed the team was back and had some extra wind in their sails after linking up with F1 powerhouse Red Bull Racing, who are fresh off winning the 2021 championship with driver Max Verstappen.

"While keeping the winning spirit that has always animated Alinghi, we want for this challenge to do something totally different, totally new, totally fresh," Bertarelli said.

"With Red Bull we are equal partners in this venture. They will bring their competence, energy and strength in creating performing teams, and we bring our experience in sailing and winning the America's Cup."

Former Team NZ tactician and America's Cup veteran Brad Butterworth was present at the announcement and is expected to play a key role in Alinghi's campaign.

Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said the Alinghi Red Bull challenge was significant on several levels.

"Ernesto and Alinghi have been sitting on the sidelines since 2010 and watching the America's Cup through a number of class designs and iterations," Dalton said.

"Now that they have chosen to launch back into the America's Cup, partnering with Red Bull, is a true testament to the success of the AC75 class and the boundaries of innovation, design and speed which appeals to a far wider audience than has been seen in the past.

"Alinghi has been developing grass roots sailing in Switzerland in a range of high-performance foiling classes.

"By embracing the youth development culture they are now able to field a top level 100 per cent Swiss national sailing team which is a great example of the possibilities for many countries wanting to grow their national talent pool in the top levels of sailing."

The Alinghi Red Bull partnership joins the official challenger of record, Team UK, and Italian syndicate Luna Rossa in confirming their entries for the 2024 event. Entries opened at the start of December.

American Magic signalled their intent to challenge again last month as well.

Teams have until July 31 next year to enter, though late entries will be accepted up until May 31, 2023 - at an added cost.

A decision on the location of the regatta is also expected by March 31 with Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and a multi-city bid from Spain in the running along with the distant hopes of another defence in Auckland.