America’s Cup, the Formula 1-sailing alliance. Here’s how Mercedes helped Ineos with top engineers

The Mercedes F1 department was of great help to us. We have been working with them for the past two years: they have helped us in terms of designing and manufacturing the components of our boat as well as analyzing some problems we have had in the last two months – he explained ago Sir Ben Ainslie, helmsman of Ineos – I can’t go into too much detail but certainly Mercedes has had a very big impact on our team and enormous help has also been provided directly from the upper floors. Toto Wolff, James Allison e John Owen every week they helped us understand where and how we were, with suggestions on how to improve.

Never before in this 36th edition of the America’s Cup has the link between F1 and sailing been so close. Thanks to the advent of foiling, that is the use of wings (foils) attached to the hull, flying on water is a dream that has become reality. A technique of which Italy was also among the pioneers with Enrico Forlanini, who at the beginning of the 1900s was the first to make the hull of a motorboat lift completely from the water in complete aerodynamic support, once it reached a certain speed. In reality it is thought that it was Leonardo who invented foils, thanks to a sketch that dates back to the early 1500s.

Just as a wing allows an F1 car to remain glued to the asphalt thanks to the aerodynamic load generated, an airplane or in this case a sailboat can fly on the water thanks to the lift (hydrodynamic thrust) generated by the foils and sufficient to lift the hull. Being able to compete in this configuration allows you to significantly reduce the disturbance of waves and water in general, with a resistance that is reduced by think of 80 times.

This allows you to generate exceptional speeds, over 30 knots (55 km / h) upwind, that is, in the wind ascent phase, which increase up to values ​​even higher than 50 knots (92 km / h) in downwind, well about three times the wind speed. And with one VMG (Velocity Made Good), the true speed of approach to the buoys, over 20 knots upwind and around 30 knots downwind.

In short, it is increasingly essential to study the behavior of the hull in air conditions and not only in water, with the AC50 catamarans, and even more so with the AC75 monohulls. Sophisticated and modern boats have thus come closer and closer to F1 cars, hence the strong and intense collaboration between Ineos and Mercedes, of which the British giant is also a shareholder. As in the top motor racing series, the aerodynamics of the car is of fundamental importance, this latter technical component has taken a large part of the scene on the new hulls, with solutions that can also radically change the speed of the boat, inside and above all outside the boat. water.

Solutions that, even more so in sailing, must be a compromise between water and air and optimized for a wide range of wind speeds. Certainly every time you touch the water in those windy conditions a very strong braking and therefore you must be able to definitely do the whole regatta lifted from the water, he said Francesco De Angelis, former skipper of Luna Rossa, now Rai technical commentator for this 36th edition of the America’s Cup.

In short, even on the AC75, that crucial aeronautical component on an F1 car is exalted: They are technologically interesting boats in some respects also very complex, not easy to explain, with aeronautical technology and we hope that the general public will be able to follow the races equally. , continued the Italian skipper. In the regulations born from the collaboration between Emirates New Zealand, winners of the America’s Cup 2017, and Luna Rossa, Challenger of Record, the shared goal was to contain costs while leaving the creative soul of the America’s Cup and therefore the possibility to various designers to interpret the rules.

Thus, the result of compromises above all aerodynamics, the only three AC75s challenged the holder of the cup, Emirates Team New Zealand. The Italian Luna Rossa, the American American Magic and the English Ineos.

Of the four boats, Red Moon seems to have focused too much on medium-low wind conditions with such efficiency of the boat even in the possible phases in the water due to little wind. New foils should solve, at least in part, what has proved to be a strong limitation between World Series of December and the round robins of the Prada Cup

American Magic instead it seems to have focused a lot on conditions with medium-strong winds and an important efficiency of the hull out of the water and on very contained sails.

America’s Cup, from Conner to Coutts the 5 skippers who changed the history of sailing (there is also an Italian, De Angelis)
Dennis Conner

Ineos, the own boat designed thanks to the important contribution of Mercedes, especially during the lockdown phases when the Brackley factory was closed but also in the following weeks, with staff remaining at full service on the sail according to the new budget limits cap imposed by the FIA, on the other hand, the surprise of the Italian group and the best performing on a wide range of wind.

Important news in foils, but not only, have in fact solved most of the problems in the maneuvering phases shown during the December World Series. They are now the favorites, just under two months from the start of the 2021 F1 world championship, Mercedes does not want to forget what it means to win. On the water of the Hauraki Gulf and not on the track.

January 27, 2021 (change January 27, 2021 | 09:24)


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