America's Cup: Alinghi back to challenge for 'Auld Mug' with major support from Formula One's Red Bull Racing

Former America's Cup champions Alinghi are back with a new look and backing from a Formula One giant.

Red Bull Racing - home of new F1 champion Max Verstappen - has been unveiled as the Swiss syndicate's major sponsor, as team owner Ernesto Bertarelli announced their return to the event it won in 2003 and 2007.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing will be led by former skipper Brad Butterworth, who - along with helmsman Russell Coutts - left Team NZ for the big-money syndicate, after the 2000 defence in Auckland and returned home three years later to lift the trophy.

Bertarelli and Butterworth in 2009
Bertarelli and Butterworth in 2009 Photo credit: Getty Images

"I have been with Alinghi for 20 years now and getting into this new challenge with Red Bull is very exciting," says Butterworth.

"The America's Cup is a technology race, which is won on the water with race strategy and tactics. Red Bull has demonstrated that time and time again in F1, and in many of the other sports it competes in."

Red Bull Racing, which also backs Kiwi drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Liam Lawson in their respective Supercars and F2 careers, joins the Mercedes F1 team as part of the America's Cup, with the German outfit providing technical support to Sir Ben Ainsley's INEOS Team UK.

Bertarelli says the motorsport heavyweight, headed by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, provides his team with state-of-the-art technological knowledge that can only benefit the chances of a successful attack on the 'Auld Mug'.

"While keeping the winning spirit that has always animated Alinghi, we want for this challenge to do something totally different, totally new, totally fresh," says Bertarelli. 

"Our way is not to get into the sport as sponsors, but to blend into the team, to form a true partnership, to nurture young athletes and turn them into the best in their field. [Mateschitz] also proposed that we should make contributions to give the America's Cup itself a new dimension.

"With Red Bull, we are equal partners in this venture. They will bring their competence, energy and strength in creating performing teams, and we bring our experience in sailing and winning the America's Cup.

"Alinghi Red Bull Racing will shine a new light on the event."

The Swiss syndicate won the Cup form Team New Zealand in 2003
The Swiss syndicate won the Cup form Team New Zealand in 2003 Photo credit: Photosport

Team NZ boss Grant Dalton says having Alinghi back in the fold only adds to the prestige of the event and he expects more challengers to announce their entries in the coming months.

"Welcoming back a team with the heritage and success of Alinghi to the America's Cup is fantastic for the 37th America's Cup event, which combines history with technology and pushing the boundaries of innovation," Dalton says.

"However, now with the best of Swiss sailing, partnered with one of the most recognisable brands in the world of extreme sport and the power of Red Bull Advanced technologies, this well and truly highlights the significance of Alinghi Red Bull Racing as a challenger.

"I think I can speak on behalf of all AC37 teams, both existing and new, in saying we very much welcome the competition."

Only a core crew of Swiss sailors have been announced and Bertarelli insists the team for the 2024 challenge will be "100 percent Swiss made".