(Reuters) – The addition of a German SailGP team — backed by four-times Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel — will give the global racing league a major boost, says event chief Russell Coutts.
Germany are the latest nation to join SailGP in time for the start of its fourth season this month in Chicago, and Coutts believes Vettel’s involvement could prove crucial to the fledgling team as they look to find an early competitive edge.
“Clearly Formula 1 is a highly technical sport and with SailGP, all of the data is in the open — so I should imagine that (Vettel) will bring a lot of perspectives on how to use technology,” said New Zealander Coutts, an Olympic sailing champion and five times America’s Cup winner.
Team co-investor Vettel sees a lot of potential for SailGP.
“Parallels between sailors and Formula 1 have long existed,” the 35-year-old German said. “The boats are fascinating and the speeds on the water are incredibly high.
“In addition, the series not only uses wind power, but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”
The league, in which national teams compete in identical high performance F50 foiling catamarans at speeds of up to 100 kmh, was launched in 2019, when Australia beat off teams from China, France, Britain, Japan and the United States.
Australia won their third SailGP crown last month by overcoming New Zealand and Britain in a winner-takes-all Grand Final in San Francisco.
The 2023-24 season will also feature teams from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Britain, France, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.
(Reporting by Ossian Shine, editing by Ed Osmond)
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