With just three points between the top five teams in the Season 4 standings, and a new first-time winner in Spain at the last event, the SailGP field has never felt more open as it heads to the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez. With every team trying to find an advantage, the United States F50 showed you can never let your guard down and capsized in between practice races. Fortunately all athletes were unharmed with minimal damage to the boat.
United States driver Jimmy Spithill said: “We were all commenting after that it was probably the softest, slow-motion capsize any of us had ever done. We pulled the boat up, and all good – there was no damage. We couldn’t see [the breeze on the water] being so close to the sea wall and just got caught out by a big puff and tipped over.”
France enters its home event under some pressure after a poor start to the season, sitting in eighth place. Poor results appear to have forced a change in the French lineup with ex-Switzerland team member Jason Saunders replacing Francois Morvan as flight controller.
Speaking at the pre-event press conference this morning driver Quentin Delapierre said: “There is always pressure in SailGP and being at our home event doesn’t change anything, it’s the same as the others I want to just feel free on the boat and play the game as well as we can. I think with François we didn’t get the same dynamic as we did at the beginning of Season 3. I think François is a great athlete but we were not on the same page at the end and I think it was the right change.”
Emirates Great Britain driver Ben Ainslie supported the move, saying: “It’s pretty ruthless from Quentin I gotta say. I think we’re seeing more and more of that, I wasn’t aware of the French crew change but it’s pretty brutalist. Teams have got to keep pushing forwards, we see the standard getting higher and higher, our team is the same, if we haven’t been performing why is that, what can we do about that.”
After claiming its first-ever win with a stunning performance in Los Angeles, Spain driver Diego Botin said his team was trying to refocus after the excitement of its breakthrough victory. Botin said: “Obviously it gives us more confidence, it shows us that we can do it and get the win but I think we need to treat it the same as we treat the losses, we need to work the exact same way and see where that work takes us.”
Australia tops the standings despite falling short in both event finals this season, and the three time defending champion appears determined to not see complacency creep in to its attitude.
Driver Tom Slingsby said: “It is a little frustrating not to get a win so far, we’ve learned some lessons from that, it was through being a bit too conservative in that final race both times, we’ve got to change our ways a little bit. If we get into that final podium race this weekend I think you’ll see us a bit more aggressive than we have been.”
Thanks to league partner Accor’s extended support – announced this week – EODev, an organization that develops and industrializes sustainable, reliable and affordable hydrogen-based energy solutions, will strengthen SailGP’s clean energy roadmap. EODev will supply green hydrogen at key SailGP events during Season 4, beginning with the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, September 9-10, while educating fans on the importance of transitioning to clean energy solutions.
The France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez commences at 1:30pm local time tomorrow, September 9, and can be seen live on Canal Plus Sport 360 in France all weekend. For details on how to watch around the globe visit SailGP.com/watch. For fans in France, tickets in all categories are sold out on Saturday and just a few remain for Sunday, head to SailGP.com/SaintTropez for more information. For the first time SailGP is joining forces with Nikki Beach to create a lively beach atmosphere in front of the SailGP Race Stadium. Fans will be front row overlooking the F50s’ action-packed battle from the top terrace of the iconic seawall, as SailGP experiences the glamor of the famous Saint-Tropez Nikki Beach.
FRANCE SAIL GRAND PRIX | SAINT-TROPEZ //
Day One Racing: Saturday, September 9, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time
Day Two Racing: Sunday, September 10, 1:30 p.m – 3:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time
SAILGP SEASON 4 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after two events) //
1 // Australia // 17 points
2 // Spain // 16 points
3 // ROCKWOOL Denmark // 16 points
4 // Canada // 15 points
5 // New Zealand // 14 points
6 // Emirates GBR // 9 points
7 // United States // 8 points
8 // France // 8 points
9 // Switzerland // 5 points
10// Germany // 0 points*