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Swiss billionaire who funded Alinghi to America's Cup glory looking to return

One the biggest names in recent America's Cup history is back in.

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Ernesto Bertarelli has already attempted to by Team NZ’s first AC75 to get a feel for where sailing is at currently. Source: 1 Sport

Ernesto Bertarelli wants to return to the prestigious regatta, even as a lead challenger, if Italy's Luna Rossa win the cup.

The Italian-born Swiss broke New Zealand hearts back in the early 2000s when his Kiwi-dominated Alinghi crew won the cup and took it to Europe.

1 NEWS can reveal Berteralli now wants back in which Sir Ben Ainslie says is good news for the sport.

“I know he's been watching the last couple of cycles,” Sir Ben said.

“I think it would be brilliant for the Cup if Ernesto Berteralli wants to come back in.”

The pharmaceutical billionaire clearly has no issue with money, with 1 NEWS understanding he's already tried to buy Team New Zealand's first AC75 but has been turned down.

The big challenge then is finding designers, foiling experts and sailors.

But this is the America's Cup; the Kiwi crew is likely to come in for big offers again.

Many in the regatta, wherever that is next time, told 1 NEWS they would welcome Berteralli back with open arms.

“I think it would be good news, Ernesto Berteralli is a person that has been a big personality in the cup,” Luna Rossa’s Francesco Longanesi Cattani said.

“I would expect this would be smack dab in the middle of Ernesto's wheelhouse, he's always been on the cutting edge,” American Magic’s Terry Hutchinson added.

Other big backers are tipped to follow Berteralli, especially if he becomes the challenger of record.