Italian challenger of record Luna Rossa have robbed Emirates Team New Zealand of one of their major sponsors.

Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli, who came on board with TNZ on the eve of last year's America's Cup in Bermuda, will now co-sponsor Luna Rossa alongside luxury fashion house, Prada.

The multinational tyre company are the tyre supplier for Formula 1 and have been sponsoring sport since 1907.

Chairman of Luna Rossa Challenge, Patrizio Bertelli, described Pirelli as an "ideal partner".


"Pirelli is the ideal partner for this new America's Cup challenge. With over half a century's experience at the highest levels of high technology world sports, it will be an important asset at the heart of our project," Bertelli said.

"In this sense, it is correct to speak of a real and true collaboration between the Team and Pirelli."

Executive vice-president and CEO of Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera, said that the Italian synergy made for a natural partnership and were keen to stay involved in the America's Cup.

"Pirelli chose to be a part of this project because it represents both a sporting and technological challenge, able to bring Italy and the Pirelli brand to the attention of the entire world," Provera said.

"The America's Cup, as Formula One is to motorsport, is the most prestigious sailing competition, with a great history and tradition. It embodies values and is for a public of impassioned fans that perfectly match Pirelli's."

Luna Rossa confirmed that the first two regattas of the America's Cup World Series will take place in the Mediterranean next year, with a further three World Series regattas to be held in Europe, the US, and Asia in 2020.

Auckland will then host the Christmas Cup prior to the Prada Cup challenger series which will determine which team will race TNZ for the prestigious Auld Mug in March 2021.