F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel and Olympic Sailor Erik Heil Join Forces to Launch Germany SailGP Team
In an exciting announcement, two of Germany’s top sports stars, four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and double Olympic sailing bronze medallist Erik Heil, joined team owner Thomas Riedel to introduce the Germany SailGP Team. The team will participate in the fourth season of the purpose-led global racing league, commencing with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago on June 16-17.
The Germany SailGP Team combines the expertise of German business and sport, with Riedel, the president of a leading communications company, and Vettel, a renowned investor and co-investor, actively involved in the team’s management and performance. Heil, a two-time Olympic medalist in sailing, will steer the cutting-edge Germany F50, a hydrofoiling boat capable of speeds approaching 100 km/h.
The unveiling of the Germany SailGP Team took place during SPOBIS 2023 in Düsseldorf, where the team showcased its aspirations for the upcoming season. Sir Russell Coutts, SailGP co-founder and CEO, presented Heil and Vettel with a symbolic yellow wheel of the F50, welcoming them to SailGP.
Riedel, Vettel, and Heil share a passion for high-performance sports, a keen interest in the latest technologies, and a mutual belief in SailGP’s commitment to sustainability. They are drawn to SailGP’s high-tech competition and its sustainable championship concept.
Riedel, whose communications company is a technology supplier for SailGP, providing on-site wireless communications and TV production infrastructure, expressed his optimism, stating, “I see great potential in all directions with the Germany SailGP Team: sports, business, and media. We believe that a great movement can emerge from this. In addition, we can credibly implement our concerns in terms of sustainability and diversity.”
Vettel, emphasizing the parallels between sailors and Formula 1, remarked, “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. The series not only uses wind power but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”
The Germany SailGP Team, featuring Heil and female German-Brazilian double Olympic champion Kahena Kunze as the strategist, will compete in SailGP’s fourth season, commencing in Chicago next month. The complete lineup for the team will be announced soon.
Joining the team as CEO is Tim Krieglstein, a former senior marketing manager for Red Bull with extensive experience in event management and campaign setup. Anne van der Wereld, with a background in the Ocean Race and as team coordinator for the New Zealand SailGP Team, assumes the role of team manager.
Heil acknowledged the challenges ahead, stating, “We are under no illusions that it will be easy, and other world-class teams have learned that when they entered SailGP. We will have to work our way up. That’s the goal. However, SailGP comprises the best athletes in our sport, and personally, I can’t wait to get racing.”
The Germany SailGP Team’s formation marks an exciting new chapter in German sailing, as these talented individuals strive to make their mark in the global racing league and uphold the values of high-performance competition and sustainability.