Saïf-Deen Akanni




Saïf specialises in experimental and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element (FEA) structural analysis. Over the last 15 years he has focused on coupled calculations in CFD and FEA practicing a discipline known as Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI). He has developed these skills over the last twenty years in the aerospace, motorsports and road-going automotive and marine industries working with companies like Sauber, Audi Sport, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.

Saïf was born in London, England and was whisked away to Barbados as a 6 month old baby. He grew up and was schooled in Barbados until he was 17. He was awarded the Lord Montbatten Scholarship and attended the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico, USA which he attended for two years, graduating with the International Baccalaureate.

From there he had intended to go to flight school to pursue a long held passion of flying and a career as an airline pilot. But winning a $400 US double or nothing bet that he could not get accepted to Cornell University he made the mistake of mentioning this bet to his parents meant that he attended Cornell University instead where he read mechanical and aerospace engineering. Incidentally the first $200 US bet involved getting accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

After various forays in motorsports in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, Saïf ended up doing a doctorate for the Ferrari Formula 1 team at City University in London, England and after that pursued a career in Formula one. From 1999 to 2002, he headed the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) programme at what was then Sauber Petronas Engineering (the engineering arm of the then Red Bull Sauber Formula 1 Team) in Hinwil, Switzerland and then went on to work in other forms of upper echelon motorsports for several years.

He currently makes his home in Berlin, Germany and works in the aerospace industry with Rolls-Royce Deutschland working as part of the team that performs research and development on their jet engines. He loves living in Berlin and feels quite at home there as he already spoke German before arriving. Saïf also speaks French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese and tosses a bit of Swedish in for good measure.

Saïf toyed with sailing while growing up as in Barbados but this was always on an occasional and informal basis. His first and only serious exposure to sailing came when he was working as part of the Airbus Flight Physics team in Bristol, England. While there, the head of Flight Physics asked him if he would be interested in putting his knowledge of aerodynamics to use in designing a multi-element wing for a racing boat. That boat tuned out to be the Airbus sponsored Team Invictus entry with which he has had two periods of involvement. After several years, he along with John and Sito decided to form their own team. His interest in C Class boats continues and this interest has been transformed into something of an obsession now that hydrofoils are a part of the equation. Saïf’s motivation is to win the Little Americas Cup and get involved with Americas Cup someday.

To be a part of a team exercise that is unique and inspiring.

If you can’t get what you want, then get something better.
Saïf-Deen Akanni, 2002