Jimmy Spithill, CEO & driver of USA SailGP Team, shows the cockpit and wheel of the USA SailGP Team F50 catamaran to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing Formula One drivers, prior to them both joining the USA SailGP Team as sixth sailors for a ‘drag race’ against Australia SailGP Team ahead of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix in Saint Tropez, France. 6th September 2022. Photo: Adam Warner for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP


Two of Oracle’s most technologically advanced sports partners came together for a thrilling challenge on the waters of the French Riviera. Max and Checo teamed up with U.S. SailGP Team driver and fellow Red Bull athlete Jimmy Spithill to see if their talent could challenge overall season leader Tom Slingsby of Australia.
Max and Checo both took turns onboard the U.S. team’s high-speed, hydrofoiling F50 catamaran, taking on the two-time SailGP Champion Slingsby. First they let the experienced SailGP drivers go head-to-head and experience the full force of a SailGP race – with the U.S. showing early form over the Aussies – before taking the wheel and participating in time trials to see if they had what it takes to drive the F50. 
The two teams came together in Saint-Tropez ahead of this weekend’s Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix and Formula One’s Italian Grand Prix.
Both SailGP and Oracle Red Bull Racing rely on the performance of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to provide them with data analysis that sharpens race strategies and helps the teams make more informed split-second decisions.
Oracle Red Bull Racing’s data-driven strategy has been a key component of the Team’s success on the track this year, so Max and Checo took the time to study SailGP’s data and get key insights from other teams before going up against the Aussies on the water.
U.S. SailGP Team CEO and driver Spithill said: “I think when they were told they were going to go on the water, they didn’t expect these boats. They certainly looked at them with a little bit of shock because the boats look more like an aircraft. I think they were blown away by the technology. Although they are on the road and we are on the water, the one thing that we do share is how data driven both sports are and how much the athletes rely on making decisions and using that data. It is just fundamental. If you look at strategies – how we make decisions on the water, how they make decisions on a race track – we study the data hard, we use it real-time and there is a lot of it, but we are both very fortunate to have a partner like Oracle that gives us that sort of a competitive advantage.”
Max said: “I’ve had a pretty incredible experience; I’ve never done anything like it. We do a lot of really cool things at Red Bull and this is definitely one of them. SailGP is extremely professional, and the race boats are much bigger than expected, it was impressive to see the aerodynamics and the foils. It was really interesting to listen to the whole Team communicate on the boat, when I’m in the car I only communicate with one person. We also went to the Oracle Insights Center and the one thing that really interested me in SailGP is that all the data is available to everyone. And of course, in our sport, that’s not allowed and it’s not possible, but still you have so much information to make the right calls and strategy calls.”
Checo added: “To have that opportunity to experience a new sport today was incredible, it was something unique. We are doing some racing but not on the track – on the water. Like every sport when you see it from the outside it is so different when you actually jump into it. It is so impressive, I have a lot of admiration for what these guys do. I am very curious about it, how the team use the data and of course the technology – it is great to learn about other sports. Our sports are similar in the way we interact with the teams and with the strategists, we have a lot more similarities in our sport than I first thought. The beauty of F1 is that you are constantly hiding your data and strategy from other teams and that information is so important to you. I find it very unique that you are able to see the data from other teams in Sail GP, that is something very different from our sport.”
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