DUSSELDORF, Germany — Retired four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel and double Olympic sailing bronze medalist Erik Heil will help lead the new Germany SailGP Team in tech tycoon Larry Ellison’s global league.
Vettel will be a co-investor alongside team owner Thomas Reidel and both will take an active role in the management and performance of the team. Heil will steer the team’s 50-foot foiling catamaran.
Germany becomes the 10th team in SailGP, which begins its fourth season on June 16-17 with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix at Navy Pier in Chicago.
“I see a lot of potential as SailGP starts its fourth season and for the first time with a German team,” Vettel said. “Parallels between sailors and Formula 1 have long existed. The boats are fascinating and the speeds on the water are incredibly high. The races are exciting and I am happy to be close to them with a motivated group of young sailors. In addition, the series not only uses wind power but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”
Tom Slingsby, skipper of three-time defending SailGP champion Team Australia, said having Vettel join the league as an investor “is an amazing thing for our sport. He probably wasn’t a sailor, he probably didn’t know anything about the sport of sailing a couple of years ago. SailGP was a start-up three years ago and the fact that we’re now getting some of the biggest sportsmen in the world is unbelievable and I think it’s a sign of where SailGP is going.”
Riedel’s communications company provides the on-site wireless communications and TV production infrastructure for the league as a technology supplier.
“As a company, we have always been able to not only understand formats but evolve them through technology and innovation. I see great potential in all directions with the Germany SailGP Team: sports, business and media,” Riedel said.