France driver Quentin Delapierre has admitted the team has lacked conviction in Season 4 so far, resulting in a ‘frustrating’ run of fourth place finishes.

Christchurch marks the 9th event of Season 4’s 13-stop calendar, which means the fleet now enters the business end of the season. Pressure will be on the mid-fleet teams - like France in 5th place - to move up the leaderboard and seize one of the three coveted spots in the winner-takes-all Grand Final.

Season 4 // Quentin Delapierre at Christchurch press conference

Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Delapierre admitted last year’s Grand Final in San Francisco - which saw France pushed out of the top three by Emirates GBR - was ‘really painful for the whole team’. “It’s part of our legacy and it matters at the very end when the Championship [Grand Final] is coming,” he said.

France lacked confidence and conviction early on in Season 4, resulting in a slew of lackluster performances. But as the European leg dawned, France’s comeback began. The team claimed 4th place in four successive events - Taranto, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sydney, missing out on a place in those event Finals by the thinnest of margins.

Season 4 // France foiling on first day of racing in Sydney

“It is really frustrating (…) and it’s tough because we have been on equal points many times and haven’t made it into the Final,” he said. “This is high level sport and it’s always a small margin you have to manage.”

Heading into the home stretch before San Francisco’s Grand Final, Delapierre said the team ‘doesn’t have to change much’ except a change of mindset.

“We have to believe more - we showed last season we are able to do it - we just need to believe more in what we are doing.”

Heading into Christchurch, the French are just seven points behind ROCKWOOL DEN in third, which means Delapierre’s squad is under pressure to beat the Danes to retain a chance of making the final three.

Season 4 // France SailGP Team underway in Sydney

Reflecting on the recent victory of Frenchmen Erwan Fischer and Clement Pequin at the 49er World Championships, Delapierre admitted ‘there is always a risk’ he could be replaced if results don’t improve.

“This is the best league in the world and if you aren’t the best, you have to leave - it’s as simple as that,” he said.

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch takes place on March 23-24, with racing from 15:00 NZDT.