The opening showdown of Season 4 is underway, with the bumper 10-strong F50 fleet going head to head for glory on the waters of Chicago’s Lake Michigan. From the U.S. under pressure to Australia's unstoppable momentum, we pick out five things to watch out for when racing resumes at 16:00 CDT.
Will the U.S. continue to flounder on home waters?
Hopes were high for Jimmy Spithill’s United States team heading into a new season, with Spithill promising Season 3’s crew disruption and rotation was at an end. But when racing began on Lake Michigan, it was the same old story for the Americans. The U.S. ended the day with a 9-10-6 racing record and finished behind Germany on its racing debut. Can the home town heroes turn it around when racing continues?
Is Australia unstoppable?
On the flip side, Tom Slingsby’s Australia started Season 4 with a bang, harnessing the momentum from its third consecutive Championship win. The team netted two race wins from three fleet races, and even battled back from a disastrous start line error that put them at the back of the pack in the second fleet race to finish fifth. Heading into the second day of racing, the Aussies are leading the charge. Is there any team in SailGP that can stop their dominance?
Can the Germans keep their promising racing debut going?
Despite finishing the first day with two 8th place finishes and one 7th, the German F50 was described as ‘boat of the day’, with the team spending the majority of races fighting mid-pack and even reaching fourth place. Can the Germans keep it going on their second day of racing to finish their first event strong?
Will Canada make another Chicago Final?
Despite grappling with uncertainty around the team’s ownership, Phil Robertson’s Canadian team had an excellent first day on the water with a 3-1-5 race record. Heading into day two, Canada is third on the overall leaderboard and challenging for a place in the winner-takes-all Grand Final. The Canadians finished on the podium in Chicago last season - can they do it again?
Can Emirates GBR bounce back from a lackluster first day?
It was a flat first day Emirates GBR, after driver Ben Ainslie arrived in Chicago just hours before racing began. Despite starting the event strong with a second place position in the first fleet race, the team fell flat. Currently sitting in fifth overall heading into the second day, the Brits have some work to do to gain a place in the winner-takes-all Final.