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Ainslie: There’s potential for ‘genius’ Newey to advise on America’s Cup yacht design
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jan 2014   |  7:28 pm GMT  |  34 comments

Sailor Sir Ben Ainslie says there is the potential for “genius” Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey to advise on the four-time Olympic champion’s America’s Cup yacht design.

Briton Ainslie triumphed in the America’s Cup for the first time when he was instrumental in US team Oracle’s remarkable comeback victory over Team New Zealand last year.

No British team has won the competition in its 162-year history but Ainslie is hoping to change that. He is trying to raise the investment to form a British team so he can enter the next event, which will be within three to five years of the last competition.

Newey has said in the past that the challenge of the America’s Cup excited him. “The formula of man and machine is an exciting one to work in, which is why thoughts about the America’s Cup have come about,” he said.

“Where else is there a big budget sporting blend of man and machine and competition? The America’s Cup is the only big alternative.”

The Red Bull design chief met Ainslie at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where the topic was discussed.

“I did go to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” Ainslie told BBC 5 live. “I went as a Formula 1 fan and Adrian is a big sailing fan.

“We had a great catch up but Adrian is committed to the Formula 1 world for the foreseeable future but there is the potential for him to perhaps get involved and cast his eye over our design team and what we’re looking at doing moving forward.

“To have the advice of Adrian or many of the very smart people involved with Formula 1 industry in the UK would be a great boost for us a team.

“He is clearly a genius, in anything to do with competitive design and he’s got a great profile but I would hate for anyone to think we were trying to prise him away from Red Bull Racing.”

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Perhaps Nick Hutchins who designed the Team New Zealand boat can get himself a job with McLaren. He might get them 8 wins next year, at least.


And another one needs Newey to become a champ. 😉

Whats next, Newey designing a bat so the dutch can win the world cricket championschip.


Didn’t he already win the Americas Cup without Newey?

So, how does he need him?


Look at my comment above. I think it’s Lewis!


The whole Americas Cup is now less enjoyable with the advent of the tri-hull vessels. The old 12 metre yachts were a real pleasure to watch and used real sails which really is what sailing is about.


Tri-Hull? Have you watched the 2013 AC?


sounds just like Stirling Moss talking about F1 back in the day 😉


Slightly off topic, but would love to see an Americas Cup boat do the Sydney-Hobart race. Doubt the race organizers would allow it, but would be great to see.


I remember back when Newey was at McLaren (before he almost went to Jaguar), there was talk of him wanting to design boats and it being part of why he was unhappy there and wanted to leave. Not specifically America’s Cup, but ‘boats’ I think covers a wide range.

In the end he stayed a few years, but now, with the chance of a British team at the biggest event in the world?

Big difference between ‘has a contract until’ and ‘will actually stay until’. Think there’s a real chance he’d go for it if the specs and event details appealed to him.


He can always design at night in his spare time


Sir Ben Ainslee walked past me yesterday morning as I was walking along the millenium bridge to my office. Eye contact was made as well as the unspoken ackowledgement that we were both in the company of greatness. My only regret is that this piece had not been published yesterday and I could have asked him about it. It would have been the perfect opportunity to chat and he would undoubtedly have suggested that we discuss it over a spot of lunch rather, or perhaps a couple of beers, than on a windy bridge.


Both of you were?!


A British America’s cup team led by Ainslie really does excite me. It is the closest ‘sport’ to Formula 1 out there and Adrian Newey would be a massive asset to the team. It is definitely not beyond the realms of possibility that he could have more than just an advisory role. He may be contracted until 2017 but in the F1 world that doesn’t mean much and there is the obvious possibility that Red Bull could be the title sponsor!

The skills and knowledge that we have in the UK both in the boat and in the design room means that we would be a serious threat. There are a lot of transferable skills from designing an F1 car to designing an America’s Cup boat that means we could do something really special. But just like in F1 the deciding factor is normally finance so good luck to Ainslie!

Does anyone know if Brawn likes to take a boat out when he goes fishing? I hear he’s looking for a new challenge


Backing you all the way with that one Adrian.

Its good to see British people doing things with British interests.

Go and blow the competition away!


Because they want to win, not get thrashed 9-0.


If Newey is going to have any involvement in the America’s Cup, he will go to the team that gives him the best opportunity, as he always has done in F1. When you get to his sort of level, national allegiance is rather irrelevant.

Incidentally, my impression was that although Ainslie definitely brought an improvement to the decision making on Oracle’s boat in the last America’s Cup, what really made the difference was them learning how to actually sail the thing properly. I don’t see him as being the deciding factor, although obviously the UK press sees it differently, and I’m not for a second ignoring his extreme sailing ability.


From an engineering perspective I’d be interested to see how Newey would go at an America’s Cup project.

You can make the argument that a significant part of Newey’s success was that in the 1980s he got to design complete cars and understand where the performance could come from. Such as extending the wheelbase in 1998 to increase stability as track got narrower, or the pullrod suspension in 2009 once the diffuser became much shallower. Rory Byrne also had that experience and on head-to-head records, if Newey is a genius then so is Byrne.

With the America’s cup, Newey to my knowledge hasn’t designed a boat, so he’d be starting off a low base in terms of knowledge about performance and packaging decisions. In F1 at the moment a lot of effort goes into understanding little details such as stalling front wing elements to increase strait line speed and the interrelationship between the car and the ground. With boats, my limited understanding is that the rules allow the designers to have a much purer design for the hull(s) and the sails. So if it happens and Newey takes a leading role in the design, I’d be interested to see how it goes.

It could be that a lot of his advice is based around how to set up a design team to allow the team to do what Red Bull has done. This could involve how to use simulation and prototyping technologies in the design process. And drawing boards.



Didn’t Lewis have fun with an America’s Cup yacht a few years ago?

Maybe he met Ainsley then, and is now using that contact to distract Newey from his key F1 task with sailing dreams and 162 years streak. All part of plan “d” as Merceds attack on all possible fronts for 2014 perhaps? 🙂


I’ve always wondered if America’s Cup teams might come looking for designers from F1, and vice-versa.

It would be interesting to see a UK team. While the boats are expected to be smaller next time, a common thread for most teams to be successful is having a billionaire behind the team.

Orcale = Larry Ellison

Australia = Robert Oatley (challenger of record for next event)

Luna Rossa = Patrizio Bertelli

While New Zeland is successful, they are yet to have a billionaire to come on board and rely on government funding to stay afloat.

I wonder if the UK will have any billionaires interested in taking on Ellison?

Also, though Ainsile is the best at what he does, it should be noted that when he first came on board Oracle, they lost comfortably to NZ. Then Oracle made changes to their foils and other boat tweaks, which surged them ahead. Though most British media like to portray Oracle’s comeback due to Ainsile’s addition to the race team. IMHO, it was due more to the boat improvements.

Sep 13: “Ainslie unable to halt Oracle slide”

Sep 26: “Ainslie inspires Oracle to greatest comeback”


I watched every minute of the race live and it truly was the best comeback I have ever witness…every minute was greatness in the making.


RedBull is heavily involved in Americas Cup, but I think as an event sponsor, rather than a team

The younger participants races (something like GP2) are called RedBull Youth Series, with several teams involved

I think Cup Teams have to represent a country still, so British sponsors would be better, although for example, Team New Zealand is sponsored by Emirates airline


Isn’t Newey commited to Red Bull until 2017?

OK then, we’re all good here then. I can sleep well for the next 1000 days.

Also, if Ainslie wants investment, shouldn’t he be aiming to name his boat “Red Bull”?

Just sayin’.


Whoaa there Sebee – if Seb is half as good as you make him out to be then surely your next 1000 nights of sleep would still be secure even if Newey left RBR!


One likely problem with Red Bull sponsorship is the nationality of the boat would most likely become Austrian, regardless of where it sails from.


IMO he will exhaust all opportunities within the UK before going to another country…ie Red Bull


I didn’t realise that Red Bull was a country, when did that happen?


Are you saying the annual RBR F1 budget couldn’t buy at least….ah, let’s say a dozen countres out there?


They represent a country :):)….however they are richer then the GDP of many countries so maybe….The Nation of Next Gen


I hope I didn’t offend anyone by calling them boats. Before visions of Lonely Island come to mind, they are majestic yachts.

yacht: noun: a recreational boat or ship

…actually, turns out they are boats after all. I’m on a boat!


With such an epic record on the line of 162 years, one would figure that some UK effort would be put together to throw the kitchen sink at it and crack this nut already.

I’m sure Bernie alone could sponsor a boat named Formula 1 and get this done once and for all. Seems the appetitie to accomplish this is not present in UK corporate entities.

For example, Virgin should already be locked in considering Ainslie’s track record and knowledge of the winning boat. Yet, they are not. Perhaps the marketing ROI is simply not quite there.


If Bernie did get involved, I think that the Name “Formula 1” would be a bit too international for a UK entrant. Maybe “Big Ben” would be more appropriate…


You are spot on….I know the reported cost….but wonder what the real cost of it is


Why, I’m sure the thought has never occurred to him. ;p

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