Germany will the tenth nation to join the SailGP global racing league when the fourth season opens on 16-17 June.
Two of Germany’s leading sports stars – four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and double Olympic sailing bronze medallist Erik Heil – came together, alongside team owner Thomas Riedel, to announce the Germany SailGP Team during SPOBIS 2023 in Düsseldorf.
The team brings together the best in German business and sport. Inspired by entrepreneur and investor Riedel – president of the leading communications company that bears his name – alongside his new co-investor Vettel, both will take an active role in the management and performance of the team.
Heil, who won Olympic bronze medals at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will drive the Germany F50.
In addition to Heil, female German-Brazilian double Olympic champion from Rio and Tokyo, Kahena Kunze was also announced as the team’s strategist. The full crew line-up will be announced next month.
Tim Krieglstein joins as Germany SailGP Team CEO. He was senior marketing manager for Red Bull for nine years and brings a lot of management experience in the field of events as well as campaign set-up and management.
Alongside Krieglstein, Anne van der Wereld takes on the role of team manager. She joins the German team with experience from the around-the-world Ocean Race and as team coordinator for the New Zealand SailGP Team last season.
Riedel is no stranger to SailGP, as his communications company provides the entire on-site wireless communications and TV production infrastructure for the league as a technology supplier.
The wireless network connects, among other things, the participants’ state-of-the-art catamarans, support boats, referee and camera boats, as well as drones and helicopters for aerial filming.
Vettel said: “I see a lot of potential as SailGP starts its fourth season and for the first time with a German team. Parallels between sailors and Formula 1 have long existed. The boats are fascinating and the speeds on the water are incredibly high.”
“The races are exciting and I am happy to be close to them with a motivated group of young sailors. In addition, the series not only uses wind power, but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”
Heil revealed the team had already undertaken ‘10 training sessions’ in San Francisco in preparation for the start of the new season.
Heil also hinted at the line-up of the new crew, which will include ‘a mix of experienced sailors who have worked for SailGP and some new German sailors’.
“Right now, we have about six Olympic medals on the boat, which might be a good start for us in the beginning,” he said.
Germany will have its SailGP racing debut when the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier gets underway on 16-17 June 2023.