Pressure is on Canada and France to perform in Taranto after disastrous performances in Saint-Tropez, SailGP’s commentators have said.
Inconsistent racing results and poor starting saw the French finish in 6th place at their home event - consolidating their 7th place position on the overall Championship leaderboard.
Phil Robertson’s Canada meanwhile was handed a painful 8-point event penalty and 4 point deduction from their overall season score after colliding with Spain in the first fleet race. This saw Canada, usually a strong contender, finish the event in last place at the bottom of the fleet.
Reflecting on France’s performance, SailGP commentator Todd Harris admitted he was ‘disappointed’ the team ‘didn’t turn it around on home waters’.
“France were so good last season,” he said, pointing to the team's crew reshuffle, which saw driver Quentin Delapierre poach Switzerland flight controller Jason Saunders. With their flight controller taken, Switzerland replaced Saunders with France’s former flight controller Francois Morvan.
Harris questioned the decision to ‘change one of the back three positions mid-season’. “It might have been a personality move, but neither France or Switzerland did well out of that switch in Saint-Tropez,” he said.
Fellow commentator Stevie Morrison agreed, adding he was ‘surprised’ by the decision to change the flight controller. “I know there’s a bigger picture behind the scenes, but [the French] were so close to being in the Grand Final a few months ago and now they look a long way off that,” he said.
Looking ahead to Taranto, Harris said ‘it’s go time’ for the French team. “They didn’t do well in the first two events and then they had a terrible home event - I think they’ve got to make a Final before the Christmas break or their season is done,” he said.
Morrison meanwhile said pressure would be mounting on Canada after the ‘red mist moment’ of Saint-Tropez’s collision.
While describing Canada as a ‘very good team', Morrison said they have a tendency ‘to get tied up in micro fights when they should be thinking bigger picture’.