Swiss Roll

A grey morning on a misty Lake Geneva did little to dampen what was a stunning presentation of the new Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team who brought the Cup alive ushering in a whole new generation whilst keeping a strong link to an astronomically successful past. Make no mistake, having Ernesto Bertarelli back in the America’s Cup, with mega F1 backing by the newly crowned World Champions, is the best news of 2021 and sets a course for AC37 that makes it unmissable, tantalising, exciting and full of intrigue.


©Alinghi Red Bull Racing 2021

©Alinghi Red Bull Racing 2021

Ernesto looked his usual youthful cool as he ushered in the new partnership with Red Bull, no surprise to any readers of this blog, but more importantly, the new generation of Swiss sailors, the flying generation, that have been quietly plying their trade on the European lakes coming through the foiling ranks. Ernesto is in no doubt that they are ready – time will tell on that front.

Christian Horner, the five time winning boss of the Red Bull Formula 1 team was beamed in from Milton Keynes with a croaky voice from last weekend’s celebrations but a clear message that the on-track rivalry with Mercedes and Ferrari will continue on the water. (Did he say Ferrari – I think I heard that.)

Red Bull are very much up for the fight with a budget cap to avoid, a Chief Designer and keen sailor who’s been itching to do a Cup for aeons in Adrian Newey having input and crucially, the huge support of Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire and 49% owner of the ubiquitous drinks brand. Mateschitz and Bertarelli met and very quickly penned a deal such was the Red Bull boss’s enthusiasm and you have to suspect that the lure of the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup were the trigger alongside the determination of Bertarelli.


©Alinghi Red Bull Racing 2021

Red Bull is all about youthful engagement and their sponsorship of extreme sports celebrates this year after year. Their marketing strategy is incredible – no other brand in the world comes close and their entry into a full-blown Cup campaign is significant. The marketing teams at the other syndicates may well as pack up and consign themselves to continuing just doing social media posts. Alinghi and Red Bull will dominate AC37 – no-one else will come close in terms of engagement, branding and positivity. Mark my words.

And the team being assembled is mighty. Based out of Ecublens, home of the Decision Yard where SUI-100 for the 2007 Cup was built, Alinghi is full-steam ahead and as Bertarelli said: ‘we’re already installed and ready to go.’ Plus they’ve been working full tilt with Red Bull for a while who will bring the mechatronics, the F1 process, the aero modelling and the carbon build-set and engineering into play to build the next generation of AC75’s that will be stunning in their detail and attention to aero.


©KOS picture Source / www.kospictures.com

Who makes up the full-team was a question cleverly deflected and kicked down the road. And so it should be. There’s plenty of time for Alinghi now to scoop up additional talent and you have to think that this next Cup, rather like the last, will be heavily played out on the simulators and that’s where the current big name talent may well be hired into doing – sad as that may seem. But if you’re a pro-sailor, competing on the circuit and Ernesto and Brad come along with a big enough pay cheque to play computer games for a few months, you’d be daft not to take it right? Expect some big names joining in that department.

And will Arnaud Psarofaghis be on the SailGP circuit? This is the question I posed at the press conference and was very kindly asked by the Communications Head. The answer was that Arnaud and the team would be looking at every aspect of the programme to close the gap and you’ve got to think that SailGP is the natural place for an Alinghi Red Bull Racing presence – perhaps a take-over of the new Swiss team on the circuit or will Ernesto and Mateschitz just buy a franchise? Has to be worth it.


©Jan Pehrson / www.JanPehrson.com

But the thing that really caught my eye was the tone of Ernesto around whether he would be sailing on the boats. Unequivocally, the answer was ‘no’ – he’s a huge supporter of youth development in Switzerland and recognises that his time at the apex has passed. He’ll stick to racing, competing and winning on the lake. This is a young man’s game now and he’s full-square behind the next generation. Others on the podium, Butterworth, Silvio Arrivabene and Pierre Yves Jorand said the same – it’s all about youth and this is a youthful Swiss team being given the most incredible opportunity. Alinghi Red Bull Racing is the one to watch – it will be fascinating to see how things develop.


©Alinghi Red Bull Racing 2021

And in Brad Butterworth you can feel the old school charm and machiavellian politics already creeping in – it’s great having him back. The inter-play between him and Ernesto was like two old mates in on the joke. Throw in the likes of Dalton, Ratcliffe, Patrizio Bertelli and Terry Hutchinson and it’s going to be so much fun to watch the ultimate wind-up merchant on full transmit with the boss’s backing. Welcome again Brad Butterworth to the big time. The Cup is so much more fun with you.

So the Alinghi Red Bull Team is up and running. It’s the team everyone wants to be a part of. It’s the team everyone is watching. It’s the team of the Cup, the story of the Cup. It’s everything and they just put the world on notice that they’re gunning for AC37 with a firepower that you just can’t and won’t be able to ignore.

The Alinghi Bull will be a heck of a prospect. The Cup just got interesting.


19 thoughts on “Swiss Roll

  1. It’s interesting that their relationship with SailGP SUI seems unclear. I think that I (and a lot of other fans) assumed after the Franck Cammas interview back in 2019 that said Ernesto was invited to the meetings that led to SailGP, that this meant eventually there would be a Swiss team and that it would have some connection to Bertarelli from the start.

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    1. Well Team Tilt Sailing (the Swiss youth team) is linked to the Societe Nautique Geneve but on their website I can’t see any mention of Alinghi or Ernesto (and interestingly Glenn Ashby is an adviser!) so whether there is a link via funding or not, I’m not sure. Arnaud came through Team Tilt so there’s a link to the ‘senior’ team (Alinghi) for sure but it’s not explicit.

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      1. Well,
        The big Loser in all of this is the current Skipper & Helmsman of the SUI SailGP Team Sebastien Schneiter if Alinghi Red Bull Racing uses SailGP for training and keeping Race Sharp. The SUI SailGP Team is run by an entirely different Management with Tanguy Cariou as Manager and Lundin Energy as Partner.

        Sebastien is a really good guy who I admire a lot and he now probably gets “Arm-Twisted” by Ernesto in favour of his Go-To-Guy Arnaud Psarofaghis.

        Alinghi Red Bull Racing Entrance into AC37 makes it now even more likely it will be held Offshore given the $$$ Ernesto is pumping into it.

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    2. It would have been interesting to have them involved from the start, but I suppose when it comes to Bertarelli working with Ellison and Coutts, they’ve got bad blood (although they used to be mad love), and bandaids don’t fix bullet holes, you say sorry just for show…

      (With apologies to Taylor Swift, whose breakup songs inadvertently summarize many aspects of the 21st century AC.)

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      1. Listen to “Long Live” -> “Blank Space” -> “Bad Blood” -> “My Tears Ricochet” in that order and tell me that’s not the story of Russell Coutts.

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  2. Magnus,
    If Adrian Newey has really big Involvement in this Team INEOS Britannia has one hell of a fight on their hands. No disrespect to James Allison & Geoff Willis but their Accomplishments are “Pale” compared to Neweys.

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  3. two things

    Red Bull are not world champions in F1, they have a driver that is but they were not the winning constructor in 2021

    second to the Newey involvement, CH has already stated that he will have his primary focus on F1, not the AC but will be keeping an eye on it. given his lack of involvement in the BAR story as the boats had too many OD components to make any real impact, ( his words) i wonder actually how much star dust he will end up sprinkling given the even stricter rules in play this time

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    1. Two things: no one cares about the constructors title other than the constructors. 😜

      Secondly, Newey is according to Stefano Domenicali “the last genius in Formula 1” so no wonder CH wants to keep him working on the new car with the new regulations next year that will supposedly bunch the cars up in terms of performance. But I would suspect he will be brought in on certain aspects of the Alinghi design and that could be critical. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

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      1. Given neither Lewis nor Max will be in the AC I prefer the INEOS Merc odds 😉

        Two contrasting approaches though the INEOS one seems and is more embedded and part of the team

        The RB Alinghi seems more a consultancy based approach? Is that fair? Or were they indicating a deeper relationship

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    2. You guys know my eyes glaze over whenever you mention cars, right? It’s just like “Cars cars cars CARS? Hmmm, yes, cars. Cars cars cars.”

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      1. Oh, watches are cool, I don’t mind watches. When I was in grad school and I was down at North Cove Marina for an event (since that was always where big sailing things happened), I would stop at the Omega store in Brookfield Place and look at all the watches I could never afford and imagine they would make me as cool as Peter Burling, Bertrand Piccard, or Neil Armstrong.

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  4. Good news for sailing, and good news for the America’s cup (those are two separate things). Good journalism, too! 🙂 🙂

    Randy Needham (Rando) Rando@Needhams.us Cell 201-259-5831 (OK text/SMS)

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  5. Hi Magnus, don’t you think Grant Dalton’s options to secure the required sponsorship have just improved considerably?

    cheers Daniel/NZ

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    1. Absolutely!! Grant has cleared the RNZYS hurdle and now has an EXCELLENT shot at getting more than enough cash to not only keep TNZ alive but keep them frighteningly competitive. GD has played an absolute blinding hand in all of this. Game on!

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      1. Dalton: “Can we have some more money?”
        Sponsors: “No.”
        Dalton: “It’s to beat Alinghi and Butterworth once and for all.”
        Sponsors: “Take the money! Take it! Make amends!”

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  6. Unbelievable. This is what it has come to? Rich people with no taste make stupid rules to make stupid yachts for stupid people to drive them,

    They are brown-eyed naked and we kowtow before them?

    “The real tragedy of England, as I see it, is the tragedy of ugliness”. D.H. Lawrence

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