SailGP’s Spanish commentator Nico Abad has reflected on Spain’s reshuffle and the decision to replace driver Jordi Xammar with former flight controller Diego Botin.

The changes were announced ahead of last month’s KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix and billed as ‘major strategic changes’ in the pursuit of an improved racing performance in Season 4.

Season 3 // Australia Sail Grand Prix // Diego Botin with Sebastien and Peter Burling

Reflecting on the changes, Abad said he was ‘sad’ that Xammar’s idiosyncratic leadership plan ‘for everyone to be the hero’ had ‘failed’.

“I was sad because I knew what his aim was - to be the only team that made the boat go fast thanks to the decisions of the entire team,” he said. However, Abad acquiesced that ‘when things aren’t working, you need to make changes’.

Botin’s first event in Sydney saw the team produce a 8-5-9 racing record in challenging conditions of up to 50 km/h.

Looking ahead to Spain’s new era under the leadership of Botin, Abad said he had no doubt ‘they are going to make it’.

Season 3 // Australia Sail Grand Prix // Diego Botin with Spanish F50

The team are now in a ‘completely new situation’, he said, with all athletes apart from wing trimmer Florian Trittel taking on new positions.

Former flight controller Diego Botin has stepped into the driver position, while former grinder Joel Rodríguez is currently being trained up in flight. Seasoned SailGP athlete James Wierzbowski meanwhile has been recruited to help supercharge the team’s development.

Season 3 // Australia Sail Grand Prix // Spain F50 flies too high

“They have to learn everything now - but they are very young and determined,” Abad said, “they are going to make it.”

Looking ahead to the end of Season 3 and beginning of Season 4, which kicks off with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier in June, Abad said the team would need to ‘fight’ to survive.

Season 3 // Australia Sail Grand Prix // Spain vs Denmark in Sydney

“They are in a big storm now and they need to run out of that storm alive,” he said. “They need to go elbow to elbow, stay strong, stay together and get through the next few events - I have no doubt that they’ll be able to fly this F50 together.”