We know he’s not too shabby at drawing up fast cars, but can Red Bull draughtsman Adrian Newey design a fast boat?
We could soon find out, as Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie today revealed he has asked F1’s most successful designer to make him a boat capable of winning the next America’s Cup, to be held in 2017.
Ainslie – who in 2012 won his fourth Olympic sailing gold, and in 2013 shouted a lot at James May (as you can watch above) – has a budget of around £80m to secure Britain its first-ever victory at the big sailing regatta. And his first step, it seems, has been tapping up the man with ten F1 constructors’ titles to his pen.
“He [Newey] is keen to help us,” Ainslie told BBC Radio 5 Live, “but he has a lot of other commitments with Formula 1.” Specifically ‘stopping Sebastian and Daniel coming to blows in the staff canteen', we suspect.
Ainslie – who last year masterminded the United States' victory over New Zealand in the America’s Cup team – revealed he spoke to Newey about a potential America’s Cup collaboration at last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with the 55-year-old Brit apparently keen to help out.
“He’s a fantastic guy,” said Ainslie. “Clearly the most successful F1 designer in history, and very passionate about sailing, about the America’s Cup.”
Last week, Red Bull announced Newey had signed a new long-term contract, allowing him to focus on ‘new projects’ away from the F1 track. That’d give him freedom to concentrate on a big fast boat, and could allow Red Bull to invest in the project, too.
Newey is the only designer in F1 history to have won constructors’ titles with three different teams – Williams F1, McLaren and Red Bull – with Newey-penned cars winning more than 80 Grands Prix to date.
But does on-track go-faster knowledge translate to the sea? Do blown diffusers work on boats? Hopefully we’ll find out soon…