#AmericasCup - The Mercedes Formula 1 Team’s former chief executive has spoken of his pride in Sir Ben Ainslie and crew’s performance in the America’s Cup amid criticism of their failure to reach the big race in Bermuda.
Land Rover BAR’s quest came to an early end on Thursday 8 June when Emirates Team New Zealand clinched the five wins they needed to progress to the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Finals, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
But Nick Fry — who worked with Martin Whitmarsh in the F1 paddock for many years when the current Land Rover BAR chief headed McLaren — says Sir Ben’s efforts should be praised considering the odds against him and his team.
“We are lucky in having a sportsman like Ainslie so focused and driven as a great example to those young people who are scared to even try to succeed because they are handicapped by their own fear of failure,” he writes in a letter to Scuttlebutt Europe.
Fry says comparisons to the likes of his own former Brawn GP team, which won its first and only F1 title in 2009 before it became Mercedes, did not come out of nowhere.
“We had been competing in Formula 1 in different incarnations for years,” he writes of the team that evolved from Honda, and BAR before that. “Challengers in top level sport rarely if ever win the World Championship at their first attempt.”
Fry adds: “It is unfortunate that the PR and the media had buoyed the hopes of the public without properly informing everyone of the Herculean task BAR had before them.”
The America’s Cup match continued in Bermuda yesterday (Saturday 24 June), with champions Oracle Team USA — who won the Auld Mug with Sir Ben at the helm in 2013 — taking their first win against a strong Emirates Team New Zealand who lead the series 4-1.