Sir Ben Ainslie has again made it clear that he would love Red Bull Racing's Adrian Newey to be a part of his Americas Cup challenge.
Speaking ahead of the launch of his own team on Tuesday [10 June], Ainslie claimed that Newey was keen to be involved in the programme, provided he could work it around his commitments to the Red Bull F1 operation. Interestingly, Newey signed a new contract with RBR ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, which will see him have more freedom to work on other projects.
"He's keen to help us, but he has a lot of other commitments with F1," Ainslie told BBC's Radio 5 Live
, "We've just got to see how his timing works out in the coming months and years but he would be a huge asset.
"There has been a lot of talk about Adrian joining the team and I have met with him a number of times. He's a fantastic guy and clearly the most successful F1 designer in history, but he's very passionate about sailing, and about the Americas Cup."
No British team has successfully challenged for the most prestigious trophy in sailing, but Ainslie – a four-time Olympic gold medallist – is reckoned to have around £80m with which to pursue the dream. However, with current champions Oracle Team USA having the right to determine the shape of the next competition, it is thought likely that he will have to be ready to roll in the qualifying rounds next year.
Ainslie first spoke to Newey at last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading to speculation that the designer – who admits to being disappointed with F1's current technological direction – may 'jump ship'. His new deal with RBR also follows a period of speculation linking him with a potential move to Ferrari but, while he insists that he was unlikely to have left Red Bull for another F1 team, he clearly feel that his role in the top flight has been somewhat diminished.
"The current set of F1 regulations are engine orientated,” Newey said ahead of Sunday's race in Montreal, "At some point in the coming years, presumably that will settle down, [but] there is a grave danger, with the freeze happening progressively over the next 18 months, it's not apparent, if one manufacturer ends up with an advantage, as to what happens at that point. Is that advantage maintained for ever more, in which case the rest of us give up?
"It doesn't seem to me to be a particularly satisfactory situation at the moment. The regulations need more of a fundamental re-think in my opinion."