Mercedes will help Chris Froome to target victory in the Tour de France next year, after the Formula 1 outfit announced a partnership with his cycling team.
Its aerodynamic expertise will be used to eke out more performance on stages. Simulation technology, data analysis and advanced manufacturing methods will also be shared with Team INEOS.
Mercedes will also look at how its driver training programmes, which have helped keep Lewis Hamilton at the top, can be applied to cycling.
At the same time, Mercedes is co-operating with Britain’s America’s Cup entry backed by INEOS and led by Sir Ben Ainslie, the four-time Olympic gold medal-winning sailor. There are already 18 Mercedes engineers working with the sailing team ahead of the 2021 race in New Zealand.
“The technological demands of Formula 1 mean we are well-placed to support with advanced technical challenges in specific areas of sailing and cycling, with a particular focus on aerodynamics and the manufacturing capability around key components,” said Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal.
Wolff announced that the partnership would involve a new division of Mercedes’ motor sport arm, Mercedes-Benz Applied Science, which will look to adapt racing technologies to land, sea and air uses.
The partnerships follow a well-trodden path involving F1 crossovers. Chris Boardman won a track pursuit gold medal in the 1992 Olympic games on a bike that was developed with Lotus. More recently McLaren announced a joint venture with the Bahrain Merida pro cycling team.
Adrian Newey was a design consultant on the British 2017 America’s Cup entry, which also included Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren race engineer and Martin Whitmarsh, the former McLaren team principal.
“Tapping into the unrivalled expertise and success of the Mercedes Formula One team to support our sporting ambitions across sailing and cycling is an exciting proposition for us,” said Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and Chairman of INEOS.
“As with cycling and sailing, Formula 1 is a sport that successfully blends human and machine performance, so we are in a strong position to learn from each other. Collaboration and innovation is a key part of success across our sports teams, which is strengthened by this partnership with Mercedes.”
Unfortunately for Froome, his main rivals for the 2020 Tour de France race will also benefit from the expertise. The 2019 winner, Egan Bernal and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas are both team-mates.