Wily Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli boss Max Sirena predicts plenty of off-water mind games in the lead-up to next month's America's Cup match.
The Italians have clinched the right to challenge Emirates Team NZ for the 'Auld Mug', after dominating INEOS Team UK in Prada Cup final.
Unable to celebrate appropriately under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 on Sunday, they officially received the challenger trophy at the Cup Village on Tuesday, but Sirena says no-one in his team is dwelling on winning the Prada Cup.
He insist Team NZ will be incredibly tough to beat and knows counterpart Grant Dalton will push boundaries off the water to gain an edge.
"They just get stronger and stronger each cycle, and they know how to play the game," says Sirena. "Grant is a smart guy and a fighter, and he knows how to play the game of the Cup, which is not just in the water, it's also outside."
The veteran of five previous America's Cup campaigns should know. After his team withdrew from the 2017 challenge off Bermuda, Sirena joined Dalton and Team NZ in a management role, learning first-hand of the culture that propelled the Kiwis to success.
When New Zealand lifted the trophy, the Italians were already lined up as the next challengers of record, but that relationship has soured the longer this current regatta has progressed - there's no love lost between the two teams at the moment.
With Sirena and Dalton not willing to give an inch, there will be plenty of twists and turns before racing begins on March 6.
Watch the video for the full story, and join us for live updates of the America's Cup match between Team NZ and Luna Rossa