if(typeof window !== 'undefined' && window.location.hostname === "fr.sailgp.com") { }

‘We are the underdog’, says Spithill as Slingsby insists he won’t change approach despite ‘Red Mist’ temper

25 MARCH 2022News
by Billy Hawkins-Yale, Senior Digital Editor
Tags:
  • Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix

Jimmy Spithill believes his United States SailGP Team is the underdog heading into the Season 2 Grand Final on home waters this weekend.

The USA have performed strongly this campaign - despite not winning a single event - and they have already qualified for the three-team winner-takes-all final race in San Francisco.

Australia have also booked their place in the title decider, with Japan likely to claim the final spot to race for the chance to win the Championship trophy.

Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge, Drivers for Australia and Japan respectively, have both been in this situation before, having taken part in the Season 1 Final race in 2019. Slingsby’s Australia team won the Marseille showdown, despite a pre-start penalty, and Spithill thinks this big game experience will benefit his rivals.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference, USA Driver Spithill said: “If you are looking at it, Tom is the defending champion and Nathan was also in the final. To be honest, Nathan had the $1million dollars in his hands, but it slipped through and Tom got past.

“They’ve also done more time in these boats than anybody else.

“I believe we are the underdog, but the rest of us are catching up with Tom. We’ve all learnt things from the data. We haven’t caught up yet, but we are bridging that gap. Tom won’t be out there today [due to Australia’s capsize], so that is another opportunity for me, Nathan and the rest of the fleet to bridge that gap.”

Slingsby spoke at the press conference knowing he would be having a very different final practice day compared to his rivals, as he wouldn't be able to get out on the water with the Aussie boat undergoing major repair work on the Tech Base. A capsize on Friday caused serious wing damage to the Flying Roo, with the F50 likely out of action until Saturday morning at the earliest.

“We had a tough day yesterday, but everyday we go out we are pushing it,” said Slingsby. “It was unfortunate timing in one way as we miss all the practice today, but good timing in another way as it didn’t happen today and we miss the racing on Saturday.”

As the Championship leaders, reigning champions, and the most consistent team this season, the Aussies enter the Grand Final as favourites to retain their title. What could cost them back-to-back silverware, however, is Slingsby’s ‘Red Mist’ - the temper he knows can take over when on the water.

“I’ve heard them say I’ve got a bad temper,” he continued, “and that my temper might be what loses me the Final. I do have a temper - it’s known as Red Mist onboard when I start losing my temper - but my passion is what gets us to the top and I am not going to change the way I am.

“Obviously I’ve got to keep my cool in the important parts of the race, and not let my temper cost us the race. But it’s also what makes our team so good - we are passionate, we work hard, and we put a lot on the line - so we are going to keep the same mentality we’ve had all year, and the conditions we have here in San Francisco we are really happy with our chances.”


More from SailGP