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Question And Answer With Ernesto Bertarelli

Question And Answer With Ernesto Bertarelli


AUCKLAND - November 15, 2002 - Alinghi President and navigator Ernesto Bertarelli spoke at the Louis Vuitton Cup Press Conference after race 3 of the quarter-finals, a match in which Alinghi emerged victorious against Prada.

ON THE MATCH RACING: Q: You've seen some tough competition out there, were you expecting it to be this close? Ernesto Bertarelli: We knew that Prada Challenge would be a very serious opponent. Their style of racing doesn't mean we can't make any mistakes. It's been really close racing, and a bit more stressful that I would have imagined.

Q: Do you think the pressure of having you onboard has had an effect on the team? Ernesto Bertarelli: It's been fine so far. I am pleased with my performance and the performance of the team and I'm really enjoying the experience. I am pleased with how I've fit in on the boat, and pleased with our results.

Q: Will we see Jochen Schuemann at the helm between now and the end of the race? Ernesto Bertarelli: I think the team is functioning really well right now with our current system. It is very balanced in the afterguard with Brad Butterworth as tactician and Jochen Schuemann as strategist. Jochen is doing an excellent job in his position, helping Brad make the best tactical decisions. They make a very strong team.

Q: During the last America's Cup competition between Prada and Team New Zealand, Russell Coutts handed over the helm. Will there be a transfer of duties on Alinghi? Ernesto Bertarelli: We are happy with the way things are going. I think there is a very nice cohesion between the team out there. Russell always said that if we decide there is a better helmsman, then we will go with that choice.

Q: When Alinghi crossed the line today, the crew looked very cool and collected. How much pressure was on your shoulders in the last 3 races against Prada? Ernesto Bertarelli: I can assure you the pressure we felt has been enormous since the start of the quarter-finals. The three races against Prada have been really tough and full-on. Prada is a very talented team, they improve every day, so we have to be very concentrated. We are definitely feeling the pressure.


Q: We have seen three team owners/skippers on board boats for the races, how do you approach the role of being an owner and a crew member? Ernesto Bertarelli: I've delegated the management of the team to Russell [Coutts] and Michel [Bonnefous] and they are doing an excellent job running the team. As a regular member of the team, I get told off when I make a mistake and I'm pleased when I do something right.

Q: We haven't seen you very often in the media, can you tell us why? Ernesto Bertarelli: There is an entire team behind Alinghi, who has done much more for the Team than I have and they certainly deserve to be seen in the limelight more than I do.

Q: There is a lot of speculation of where the next Cup will be held if Alinghi wins this America's Cup. Has a decision been made about that yet? Ernesto Bertarelli: It is way too early in the competition for that!

Q: You returned to Switzerland between the Round Robins and the Quarter-Finals. What was the atmosphere like at home and how is Alinghi perceived at home? Ernesto Bertarelli: The interest and support for Alinghi in Switzerland has been important. Switzerland is doing well in sports at the moment especially in sailing with Bernard Stamm (1st in the Around Alone) and Steve Ravussin (in the Route de Rhum). Alinghi is in the newspapers a lot now, it's huge for sailing and the team. It is really happening over there and it's fantastic.

Q: How do you split your responsibilities of running a business in Switzerland and sailing on the boat every day in New Zealand? Ernesto Bertarelli: My management style is about delegating responsibilities. At Serono, I have a team of senior people who have worked with me for more than 10 years. They know exactly what to do so I don't have to be there. Also, pharmaceuticals is a business that moves very slowly, it can take up to ten years to bring a new product out, so there is time to get involved in other projects. It gives me the opportunity to go sailing.

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