Sir Ben Ainslie, Britain’s most successful competitive sailor, has admitted that Adrian Newey could play a key role in his America’s Cup yachting project.
Newey, the highest paid and most highly regarded engineer in Formula 1, is already making headlines after it emerged that he is stepping back at Red Bull in order to get involved in other technology projects.
Increasingly frustrated with Formula 1’s ever-tightening regulations, he has admitted his interest in top yacht design in the past, and has often been linked with Ainslie.
On Tuesday, Ainslie’s $130 million British project for the 2017 America’s Cup was launched. He was quoted by the Guardian: “I’ve had a couple of really good chats with Adrian. He’s keen on racing in the America’s Cup, it’s great for us.
“He clearly has a lot of commitments still with Formula 1 and it really depends how he can fit something in and being involved in the team,” said Ainslie.
Ainslie’s Newey link could tie in with the newly-revealed Red Bull ‘Advanced Technologies Centre’, reportedly devised to keep Newey out of the clutches of rival Formula 1 teams.
“[yacht design] is all about aerodynamics and hydraulics so we’ve already started discussions with the motor sport teams in the Formula 1 world,” Ainslie said.
He confirmed to the BBC that Newey is “keen to help” a British team win the America’s Cup, “There has been a lot of talk about Adrian joining the team and I have met with Adrian a number of times.”
Meanwhile, with Newey sailing into other areas of design, Red Bull boss Christian Horner played down suggestions Sebastian Vettel’s commitment to the Formula 1 team may also be waning.
After four title successes, the German has struggled with a less competitive Red Bull in 2014, and Newey’s plans may be yet another blow.
Indeed, when asked about Newey’s plans away from Formula 1, Vettel said last weekend: “I’m looking short-term, if you ask me about the future right now.”
But Horner insisted to the Mirror newspaper that he has “no doubt” that Vettel, 26, will be driving a Red Bull “for many years to come”. (GMM)