Formula 1 and the America's Cup: two sports with the same DNA | Pirelli

Formula 1 and the America's Cup: two sports with the same DNA


Ultimately, a race track, like water is just another surface on which to go up against the clock.

No doubt that's what Max Sirena, the Team Principal and skipper of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli must have thought as he handed over the traditional mini tyre to poleman Lando Norris after qualifying.

The Italian sailor was a guest in the Barcelona-Catalunya paddock, not by any means his first visit to a Grand Prix as he has always been a fan of Formula 1. “I've been to Monza several times and also here in Barcelona a few years ago when the Cup races were held in Valencia and it's always nice to be back here. Who am I rooting for? I'm Italian so obviously Ferrari are my favourites…”
The blue riband four-wheeled racing category and the America's Cup, the oldest international sporting contest, share the same DNA and not just because it's all about beating the clock. The lowest common denominator is definitely the very high level of technology that is required to compete at the highest level, as Max himself confirmed. “I am fascinated at the amount of technology in Formula 1 and not just on the cars. For example, today I was able to visit the TV production centre and I saw some amazing things which gave me plenty of food for thought as to how we could apply some of these ideas to our world.”

Another point in common is the speed of technical development. Today in Barcelona, we saw that even though the technical regulations have remained more or less unchanged since last year, with the cars also running the same tyres, the speeds have increased by almost a second per lap, a distance of just under five kilometres. Does the same apply to the boats in the America's Cup?
“Ten years ago, the boats would have a top speed of about ten knots, whereas today we can reach sixty! Today the craft are practically airplanes flying over water. That's why we have an increasing number of people in the team with aerospace engineering experience, just like in Formula 1. We also need to have continuous evolution to be in with a chance of winning.”

Formula 1 and the America's Cup are both team sports, even if, in the case of the former the final result is in the hands, and even the feet, of just one man, the driver. Do you agree?
“Absolutely true. If you want to win you need a strong team, because when you compete with a highly technical machine it's teamwork that makes the difference. Then, clearly there are the helmsmen and drivers that have the last word, often vital, but if you don't have a fast car or fast boat, you cannot win on your own.”

Rivals on track and on the water, but friends off them? What is the competition like on the water?
“In the end, everyone wants to win, so it's difficult to be friends. There's respect, for sure, but the moment you feel the adrenaline rush of competing, then the absolute will to win takes over. But, as one can also see in the Formula 1 paddock, there are drivers who exchange opinions as do others involved in the sport, but ultimately, each and every one of them, just like us, wants to win.”