The Mercedes F1 team has announced its entry into the world of yacht racing. The team will be competing in the America’s Cup, an annual sailing competition featuring teams from around the world. This is a new venture for Mercedes, which has traditionally only been involved in car racing.
The f1 news is a team that has been involved in yacht racing for a while now. The Mercedes F1 team recently announced it would be getting involved with the sport.
The Mercedes Formula One team has teamed up with British sailor Ben Ainslie to win the America’s Cup for the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain.
The America’s Cup, which predates the Olympics by 45 years, is the oldest international prize in sport, yet no British team has won it since it was originally contested as a race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. The Ineos Britannia team, led by Ainslie, wants to alter that by collaborating with the Mercedes team in the United Kingdom to develop a boat capable of beating the current champions, Emirates Team New Zealand.
The two teams are linked via Ineos, which owns a third of the Formula One team and is the primary supporter of Ineos Britannia. The sailing team will be located in Mercedes’ Brackley headquarters, drawing on the technical capabilities of different departments through the Mercedes Applied Science section of the Formula One team.
Once New Zealand and the United Kingdom agree on the rules, date, and venue for the 37th America’s Cup in mid-November, Mercedes expects to have up to 50 employees working on the early design phase of the boat. James Allison, Mercedes’ chief technical officer, who recently stepped down from the F1 side of the business, will be the project’s technical head.
Shouldn’t Mercedes be concentrating on Formula One rather than yachts?
While the initiative has a clear commercial tie-in with Ineos, Mercedes is also interested in making the idea work for the F1 team’s technical advantage. The America’s Cup is often referred to as “F1 on water,” and there are obvious parallels between the hydrodynamics that enable a racing boat to “fly” through the sea on its foils and the aerodynamics that keep an F1 vehicle glued to the track.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal, claims that the collaborative initiative will provide the team with more than simply a new income stream via Mercedes Applied Science.
“We’ve had instances where engineers have said, ‘We’ve been doing this for seven years — and many of them have been much longer — with seven world championships, and they’re wondering where the next challenge is,’” Wolff added. “And it doesn’t get any greater than capturing the America’s Cup as the Challenger of Record.”
“Because you are the underdog, you must perform even better. As a result, we keep the capability in-house, and they don’t move elsewhere, either inside the industry or outside. Some individuals in various departments have said that this is a fun task that they would want to take on for the next three to five years in order to acquire some knowledge that can be applied back to Formula One.
“It’s almost like an activity that requires all of your cognitive and intellectual attention, which becomes an advantage when looking back at Formula One and taking you out of your comfort zone.”
Since 2014, Mercedes’ F1 vehicle has been the standard. Getty Images/Clive Mason/Formula 1/Formula 1
Because of Formula One’s new budget limit this year, the Mercedes team can afford to devote considerable resources to the America’s Cup campaign. The team had to make cutbacks in its design and engineering departments due to the implementation of a $145 million expenditure limit in 2021, but by moving employees to a non-F1 project outside the budget, they may continue to work for the team.
“This team was larger last year than you could afford under a cost limit this year,” Allison said. “That implies a certain amount of our resources is able to work on this kind of project this year.” “As the Cup campaign’s rhythm demands it, perhaps it will intermesh sufficiently well with the equivalent demands that occur over in F1 land, allowing us to bring all of our expertise to bear.”
Other projects handled by Mercedes Applied Science include the design and optimization of road cycles, running shoes, and Ineos’ off-road vehicle, the Grenadier. The decision to diversify the company away from Formula One was based on the success of sports franchises in the United States, according to Wolff.
“We looked at it pretty early because I’m always eager to learn from other sports leagues, and when you look over the ocean at the most developed American sports leagues – the NBA and the NFL – these guys have diversified into real estate and the hospitality business just by having a stadium,” Wolff said. “And I believe that diversifying into engineering is the obvious next step for us.” We’ve developed all of this intellectual property, which we’ve never used on anything other than a racing car.
“We’ve never monetized any of the intellectual property that exists here, and you’re talking billions of dollars spent on technology in a Formula One team, so it makes sense that other teams are looking at that area as well.”
“However, Mercedes Applied Science isn’t a for-profit engineering firm. We are not currently recruiting engineers, but we do want to collaborate with individuals who want to set records or win championships on land, sea, air, or space. We’ve seen how the most difficult of all racing, the pinnacle equivalent to Formula One, is more concerned with learning and diversity for the benefit of Formula One than with margin.
“Similarly, a fantastic new project for engineers who have earned their stripes in Formula One but want to try something fresh. However, it must be able to stand on its own commercially.
“It’s a means for us to expand into other business sectors, but we have to make sure that we’re a contributing partner with the same ambition as we have in Formula One racing, but without detracting from either of the two activities: they have to operate in parallel.”
“We don’t want to read in three years’ time that we haven’t won a race on the road since we began sailing. That must not be the case.”
In early 2020, INEOS founder Jim Ratcliffe and Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff will announce their collaboration. Getty Images/Bryn Lennon
How might Mercedes-Benz F1 technology help a boat go faster?
Allison will be the technical lead for Ineos Britannia’s America’s Cup campaign, while Martin Fischer, a German naval designer, will be in charge of the design idea. While it’s tempting to picture shapes from Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One vehicle appearing on a racing yacht, the truth is that Mercedes’ technical expertise will most likely contribute to areas of the boat that aren’t visible.
“Areas that are harder for America’s Cup teams to do but are the meat and drink of an F1 team are all the systems that we have in place to know, for example, how far away to keep all the other things so it doesn’t fret on the pipe and how often down the pipe do you need to support it so it doesn’t bounce around so much a
“All of the design standards that were painstakingly learned and put into a process in an F1 team may now be taken up and utilized by the Britannia community of engineers.” That kind of information is very useful.
“When you want all of your good hydrodynamic and aerodynamic ideas to come true – i.e. the things that come from the team’s marine folk, backed up by the capable bodies that work with them – then the boat has to be assembled on time and to the right qualities, it can’t break down on the water so the sailors can learn while they’re sailing it, so I think the Merced’s maturity comes into play.”
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to add enough raw performance to the boat to make it both competitive and dependable.”
“We hope we fully understand that being excellent at racing cars does not imply that you are good at building boats,” Allison remarked. What we want to do is learn from individuals who know how to build boats how we can best assist them.
“So my first conversations with Martin were to try to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Ben’s previous campaign, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign Martin was involved in with Luna Rossa [the 36th America’s Cup runner-up], to see how we could amplify the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses.”
“And to identify where there are opportunities, such as the engineering standards that we have, which any engineering organization can gladly take up and fall on like manna from heaven and say, ‘That’s work we don’t need to do, can we just utilize that?’
“To particularly attempt to obtain the likely important characteristics, since we don’t know a place or the time yet, but what are the probable critical features and what kind of force will we need?”
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