Canada driver Phil Robertson has defended his team’s start to Season 4, disagreeing with the suggestion that the team had taken ‘a step backwards’.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference ahead of this weekend’s racing in Cadiz, Robertson pointed to the team’s results of ‘a 3rd [in Chicago], a 4th [in LA] and a 5th [in Taranto]’.
“We’ve had a pretty good start to the season,” he said in reference to the results, “I think it’s really respectable, especially in a fleet like this.”
However, he admitted the collision with Spain in Saint-Tropez, which saw the team penalized 8 event points to finish 10th overall, ‘really hurt us’.
This meant the team was also penalized 4 season points, leaving them in 8th overall.
“We had one bad event, which really hurt us on the overall leaderboard and, if you just look at where we’re sitting on the leaderboard, I can see how you would make that assumption,” he said.
However, he argued that the team is ‘sailing really well and happy with where we’re at’. “We know every team here has the capability to have an absolute shocker, and I expect it to happen at some point in the season - for us it happened in Saint-Tropez.”
He remained defiant in his opposition to the umpiring decision in Saint-Tropez, which did not penalize the Spanish boat, stating he was ‘firmly against the decision’.
He went on to criticize the remote set up of the umpiring team. “Back in the day, we’ve had umpires on the water judging situations from the boat’s view and now they’re judging it from a 3D perspective looking at digital boats,” he said, adding that it was ‘completely different’.
“What we’re seeing now is the boat on port [tack] has a lot of power, almost more power than the boat on starboard [tack] - so we’ve got to rethink how we interpret the rules now”.
Elsewhere, Robertson this weekend’s racing venue of Cadiz was ‘challenging’ with the ‘biggest waves’ on the circuit.
“It makes foiling really difficult,” he said, adding “the challenge for all the teams will be navigating the waves”.
The Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía-Cádiz takes place on October 14-15, with racing scheduled between 15:30-17:00 CEST.