Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 23, 2005

Formula 1 at sea

The America's Cup and Formula 1 have a great deal in common and it is not surprising that over the years there has been a considerable amount of crossover between the two sports. The last event in Auckland featured not only former F1 engineers working for the teams but also a number of people working on the organizational side of the business. Challenger of Record Management, which organized the Louis Vuitton Cup, the contest to choose who takes on the America's Cup defender was chaired by Luca Birindelli, a lawyer who was one of Enzo Ferrari's counsels and represented the Italian team in many negotiations back in the 1980s and 1990s. One of his chief assistants was Suzanne Radbone, who was the team manager of Team Lotus back in the early 1990s. In addition the hospitality for the Cup was run by Thomas Ehman, formerly West's chief representative in F1.

In the run-up to the next America's Cup in Valencia, Spain, much has changed with a new organization called America's Cup Management taking over the running of both competitions. As part of the restructuring a Challenger Commission has been created and Ehman has been named chairman and he has used his experience in F1 to try to change the way in which the challenger is chosen by proposing a system of time trials which are not dissimilar to Formula 1 rather than the traditional knock-out competition which meant that some teams did not last long in the competition. The idea is to give sponsors more coverage and thus help the smaller teams raise money.

The sports may be different but it seems the arguments are pretty much the same.