America's Cup 2021: Sir Ben Ainslie hits out at Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli for changing the rules to suit them

The bad blood has continued between INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli after Sir Ben Ainslie hit out at the Italians for changing the rules to suit them. 

Team UK trails Luna Rossa 4-0 in the best-of-13-race-series to determine who faces Emirates Team NZ in next month's America's Cup. 

The four-time Olympic champion described Luna Rossa's behaviour as "lacking in perspective", and saying some of the comments were "Machiavellian".

"I just think the whole thing's lacking a bit of perspective," Ainslie told The Telegraph. "You think about what's going on in the world, what New Zealand have done in terms of opening up for the event and hosting us all. 

"They have done a fantastic job in hosting us in the first place and it makes sense that the public, the spectators and stakeholders can share in it."

The Italians are the challenger of record and that provides them with advantages over their rival in terms of decision-making. They can veto changes to rules without the need for their opponent's opinion, and they argued that the rules could not be changed at this stage since everyone had signed up to them years ago, forcing racing to go ahead on Saturday.

 The rules state that racing has to be completed by Wednesday or else the challenger with the most points would go through. This of course suits Jimmy Spithill's side because they're comfortable in front, and just three wins away from America's Cup race. 

Luna Rossa have conveniently used their power throughout the regatta to suit them and veto rule changes to help them in the cup, according to Ainslie.

"They've changed the rule on the [upper] wind limit," he says. "They conveniently took the 15-minute delay card away from the Americans when they were vulnerable after having sunk their boat [in the round robins] – and then stuck it back in as soon as the Americans were eliminated. 

"All these Machiavellian comments coming out [now], it's just classic and as I say, it's lacking perspective."

Luna Rossa argued that with Auckland moving up the COVID-19 alert levels and forcing the cancellation of racing on Wednesday, that the winner of the Prada Cup would have less time to prepare to face defenders Team NZ.

But Ainslee feels that belief is disingenuous, as the defenders were happy for the cup to be pushed back a week. 

The 44-year-old knows his side has a tough ask to turn his side's fortunes around but was still confident they could after doing eight-hour practice sessions on the water this week. 

"It's not going to be easy, but yeah, we can turn this around for sure," Ainslee said. "It's obvious we've got to start winning some races and we've got to win the starts. 

"If you're able to do that and then make the right decisions on where the best wind is on the course, then we can stay ahead."

Join us at 4pm Saturday for live updates of the America's Cup challenger final.