Quentin Delapierre has been making only small changes during his first week onboard the F50, with no wholesale ‘revolution’ planned by France’s new Driver.
Delapierre was appointed Driver of the French team last month, replacing Billy Besson following a disappointing home performance in Saint-Tropez which left France last place in the SailGP Championship.
Having spent some time in the SailGP Simulator to get to grips with the cutting-edge F50, it was only this week that Delapierre got his first chance to take the boat to water as practice for the Spain Sail Grand Prix began on Monday.
He was thrilled to try out the F50 in person, but Delapierre began the week knowing there is plenty of pressure on him to get up to speed in only a few days before racing in Cadiz begins on Saturday.
With Delapiere’s focus firmly on himself right now – learning how to sail one of the world’s most high-tech boats is no easy task – he has opted to hold back on making any major changes to the wider team.
Instead, he is leaning on the team he has inherited from Besson for support, with his competitive SailGP debut coming in under 24 hours.
“It was quite amazing,” raved Delapierre about his first go on the F50. “The feeling onboard was unbelievable. It was a first time for me at this kind of speed, and my team was on my back teaching me as much as they can. I feel the confidence of the team behind me, and it helped me a lot for the first few days.
“For sure I still have a lot to learn on these boats, and we are just focussing on boat handling for this first event, to avoid any contact situations and boundary mistakes, things like that. That is the objective for this weekend.
“I said, ‘I’m not here to do a revolution in the French team, I’m just here to learn as quickly as possible and get into it’. I think this first week we just have to feel confident with my boat handling and steering style. I hope for Sydney we will be able to just race at a good level and have fun.
“At this time I just want to build a solid team with a solid partnership with Bruno [Dubois, France SailGP Team manager], and I think on the sailing part we need to work with all the team and look at the data and see if we can improve and be confident on the racecourse.”