America's Cup 2021: Luna Rossa keen to fly underdog flag ahead of Prada Cup final against Team UK

The mind games have begun ahead of the Prada Cup final between Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK.

With the winner in the best of 13 races earning the right to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand for the America's Cup, the stakes are high.

And the Italians have kicked things off, conceding they're the underdogs ahead of day one of racing on Saturday

A relaxed Max Sirena taking his jacket and the pressure off his Luna Rossa team.

"For sure we are the underdog - we went through the semi-final, this guy [Ainslie] went straight to the final," quirked Italian skipper Max Sirena.

"[Team UK] are the guys to beat."

Sir Ben Ainslie's crew went unbeaten through six races in the Prada Cup, with three of those wins coming over the Italians.

But that was three weeks ago and three weeks is a long time in the America's Cup.

"We have a new foil, we have a new modified mast, we have a new set of sails.

"A lot of development on the software and a lot of improvement to the comms system onboard."

But Ainslie isn't given too much away when it comes to the favourites, who made significant improvements between the Christmas Cup regatta and the Prada Cup last month.

"I can't really tell you a huge amount as we try and keep that to ourselves," Ainslie said. 

If we're able to eliminate that weakness [sailing in light winds],  then that will make a big difference to our overall performance and chances of winning races.

But winning races in stronger winds will be far more difficult.

The Brits seemed to thrive in heavy winds during the Prada Cup, but regatta officials have opted against original plans to up the wind limit from 21 to 23 knots for the challengers final. 

"That's what all of us have been designing our boats towards so to change that at the last minute is not something we would have done."

Join us on Saturday for live updates of the Luna Rossa v Team UK America's Cup challenger final.