Grant Dalton: The stakes just raised in the America’s Cup – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: October 5, 2021 at 4:32 am

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Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, left, and his right-hand man Kevin Shoebridge have plenty to ponder for the next defence of the Americas Cup.

Grant Dalton says the growing Formula One influence on the Americas Cup emphasises Team New Zealands need to solidify their finances for the defence of the Auld Mug.

Sir Ben Ainslies Britannia syndicate confirmed a major partnership with F1 champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas on Tuesday. There is speculation the imminent return of former Cup champions Alinghi will come in a deal with F1 giants Red Bull Racing, while there have been whispers of Italians Luna Rossa getting involved with Ferrari.

The F1 teams will bring major design and development resources as the challengers look to chase down Team New Zealands winning advantage.

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Team New Zealand boss Dalton looks with envy at the resources increasingly available to their well-funded rivals. As he tries to pin down a hosting deal to provide the financial security for the defence of the Cup, the British development is a reminder of what the champion syndicate is up against.

Congratulations to Britannia and their relationship with Mercedes, its impressive, Dalton told Stuff.

To me, it just gives context as to why we cant contemplate an under-funded campaign.

Thats because this (British) team are not only fully weaponised now as they move forward with their design process, they also have as much money as they need.

The challengers know that to beat us they have to do it differently, something that we have always done. Now, it seems we are being hung by our own success.

RICKY WILSON

The British now have Luna Rossas chief designer on board.

The British syndicate, backed by Sir James Ratcliffe, have also managed to lure Luna Rossas chief designer from their last two campaigns, Martin Fischer, into their camp another telling sign of how they are ramping up their campaign after boat frustrations in the last two Cups.

The hosting process for the next Americas Cup continues with Team New Zealand reappraising the offshore options. While Auckland remains on the table, Dalton says another home defence just isn't fundable - at the moment, emphasising at the moment.

This is going to another level now, and we wont succeed with sausage sizzles and club raffles, he said.

Team New Zealand dont have the billionaire benefactors of their rivals and a successful offshore hosting arrangement must include the venue providing a large chunk of the funding Team New Zealand wants and needs.

The hosting delay is a distraction Team New Zealand could do without as time ticks away. Dalton knows the defenders cant sit still while their challengers gather increasing resources.

Team New Zealands innovative design department is in full swing under the ongoing guidance of Dan Bernasconi. They are currently working on the 40-foot foiling monohulls that will be used for the youth and womens Americas Cup regattas to be sailed alongside the main event, hopefully in 2024.

Dalton said the words from Toto Wolff, the Mercedes F1 team principal, that the Americas Cup appeared harder to win than Formula One, were telling.

Mercedes were involved with the British challenge in Auckland, but only came on board late. Wolff believes they can now be far more influential.

I think last time around we came in more in a function of 'troubleshooting'. We weren't really part of the design process. And I don't just mean hardware. I'm talking about the process, the tools, the structure, the strategy ... we are doing it properly now."

Ainslie, who has sailed with Team New Zealand, won the Cup with Oracle, and is now into his third campaign in charge of a British challenge, sees huge gains in this Mercedes deal.

It is game-changing, he told The Telegraph in the UK.

Whether or not it will mean us winning the Cup this time around, I cant tell you right now. I hope it does. But either way, I hope that we can continue working together, because it has the capability to take us to the next level.

RICKY WILSON/Stuff

Team New Zealand's radical America's Cup-winning boat Te Rehutai is full of secrets that are central to the defence of the Auld Mug.

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Grant Dalton: The stakes just raised in the America's Cup - Stuff.co.nz

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