Daniel Ricciardo and Marc Márquez race each other in Alinghi Red Bull Racing boats ahead of Spanish F1 weekend

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, Alinghi Red Bull Racing was joined by two motorsports icons, 8-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo and 8-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez.

Following Max Verstappen’s visit to the Base last year, this week the two racers took it a step further, not only getting the chance to foil on the Swiss challenger’s two AC40 yachts, but race them on the America’s Cup venue. Swapping wheels for sails, Ricciardo and Márquez went head-to-head along Barcelona’s seafront for a friendly contest, feeling the adrenaline as they reached speeds of almost 90 km/h.

Both boats were quick off the start line, but ultimately the Australian driver got the upper hand, beating the Catalonian MotoGP champion on home ground. Márquez compared his experience in motorsports: “The speed is completely different. Maybe in kilometres per hour it’s slower, but the feeling of the speed was super high. When you’re in it, you don’t feel like you are flying. But then I saw Daniel’s boat flying by our side, and I realised I was too. We were foiling super smoothly.”

Alinghi Red Bull Racing has been working closely with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the high-performance vehicle engineering division of Red Bull Racing. Despite the apparent difference between the two sports, both Formula One and the America’s Cup share roots in high-performance engineering.

“The way these boats are built and the structure feels a lot like the cockpit of a Formula One car,” Ricciardo commented. “They’re super sensitive with the wind, so aerodynamics has some crossover as well. It’s a lot like what we do, with small movements and everything needs a lot of finesse.”

The Swiss team’s skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis was tasked with getting the two athletes up to speed before the AC40s went out. “Daniel took my seat on the boat, and followed all my directions as I sent them through from the chase boat,” Psarofaghis said. “Both Marc and Daniel were dropped in the deep end today, and they adapted really quickly. Overall, it was a super inspiring day out on the water with these guys.”

Although it was a lower-stakes race for Ricciardo ahead of the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix this Sunday, the friendly competition with his Red Bull colleague might just be the perfect preparation as he gears up for the racetrack.

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