If America’s Cup Teams Were Formula 1 Teams 1

The F1 of Sailing - Who's kidding who?

Who is the Sebastian Vettel of the America's Cup 'Paddock'?

Sailing PR and media hacks love to use the phrase ‘The f1 of Sailing’ or some┬ávariant. Regular readers of this site will know that we think it’s a totally meaningless comparison, but for some who are too lazy to explain their product offer, it makes things easy in some markets.

It’s interesting that the phrase is still being thrown around in relation to the America’s Cup version 34 which will take place in San Francisco. America is one market where F1 has continually failed to make a lasting impression.

Now that there are 5 or 6 or 7 challengers for the America’s Cup, we thought it would be fun to see how far we could push this silly F1 analogy and compare the AC teams to F1 teams. Like all analogies it isn’t perfect and will fall down in places, but this article might also educate some people who use the phrase “F1 of sailing” who wouldn’t know a formula one car if it ran them over.

It doesn’t matter which sport you follow, there are archetypal team personalities that seem to pervade. Here’s our lighthearted look at the America’s Cup ‘paddock’.

Oracle Racing = McLaren

This is an easy one. The buttoned down corporatism that sees even the athlete’s emotions scripted for them by centralised PR minders, combined with vast financial backing that can hire in the best talent, makes the similarities between these two operations eerie. Both are hugely talented and perfunctory, but lack a soul. Of course it matters none when the trophy is lifted and a certain kind of fan likes to be associated with winners.

Mascalzone Latino = Ferrari

Also a no brainer. Italian passion mixed with a depth of talent that wants to win. , though this team looks more like the one that stumbled through the 1980 without much success rather than all conquering Michael Schumacher era from 2000-2004.

Team New Zealand = Williams

Once great, now struggling to keep up with the funding required to compete at the sharp end. Full of talent and with tons of experience, there is still a sense of nationalism that means fans are more loyal.

Team Energy = Renault

The french do sport differently. When they get it right they can beat anyone on their day, but inconsistency is the thing that often leads to problems. With all the talent in place, this team looks like the 2005/6 team that swept all before it. Also with a strongly nationalistic approach.

Artemis = Mercedes

When Michael Schumacher came out of retirement to drive in F1 again, people gave him all the respect he deserved as a multiple world champion, but in the time he had been away, things had moved on and younger, hungier drivers now ruled. Artemis has impressive line up of sailors who have all achived incredible things, but there is a sense that now the Americas cup will be sailed in physically demanding multihulls, this team isn’t quite there. The fans of this team are confused too. Like mecedes GP which was Honda then brawn then mercedes, Artemis is a predominantly American team flying a swedish flag.

? = Red Bull Racing

In 2010, red bull racing showed that a sporting team can combine passion, fun, excitement with championship winning talent. Jimmy Spithill might be the mark Webber of the america’s cup scene, but where is the Sebastian vettel? Where is the team (like Puma in the Volvo Ocean Race) which will be known as much for their parties as their results on the water?

Perhaps the newly announced Team Australia will be the one. Australia certainly has the talent, both athletic and managerial to win this new deal version of the cup, but how many of the pros who have been lured by money to other campaigns will be part of the Australian effort?

In 1983, Ben lexen (the Adrian Newey of his time) helped Australia win the America’s cup for the first time. Australian match racing talent, Torvar Mirsky, who will compete in the extreme sailing series and the World match racing tour this year, wasn’t born when Australia II won the cup, but anyone can combine design and athletic talent with a bit of fun, its the Australians.

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  • Chuck

    The Oracle = McLaren comparison has a bit of truth to it, since Tom Ehman’s worked for both of them.