Everyone, apart perhaps from die-hard Ferrari fans and Spaniards, had to be truly impressed by the Red Bull Racing team’s successes in the 2012 F1 season. The relatively new British-based F1 team (it took over the Jaguar team at the end of 2004) captured its third straight World Manufacturer’s Championship last week at the US Grand Prix in Austin. Then yesterday in Brazil, during one of the most nail-biting F1 races in a long time, Sebastian Vettel grabbed his third straight World Driver’s Championship. He is the youngest driver ever to achieve this and joins Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as one of only three drivers to achieve this milestone.
Just before yesterday’s race, Infiniti announced it has expanded its partnership with the team for another four years. What’s more it has obviously upped the dollar amount, as the team will be known as INFINITI Red Bull Racing from 2013 on.
When making the announcement, Johan de Nysschen, the former president of Audi USA and now president of INFINITI, said: “While our first 24-months have been very beneficial to both parties, our new deeper relationship will bring increased advantages to INFINITI and Red Bull Racing. As title sponsor, INFINITI Red Bull Racing will help us garner even more worldwide exposure for our brand, products and technology.”
Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal Christian Horner added: “Red Bull Racing and INFINITI have been working on a number of initiatives since the start of our relationship in 2011. During that time, INFINITI has demonstrated significant technical prowess and I’ve been impressed by the depth of the wider engineering capabilities of the Nissan Motor Company. In terms of marketing, INFINITI has leveraged their involvement with Red Bull Racing and Formula One extremely effectively to become much better known in a short space of time. These two attributes make INFINITI the ideal title and technical partner for Red Bull Racing.”
Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer commented: “Formula One presents immense design and engineering challenges on a daily basis. Having a committed technical partner like INFINITI gives us a great platform for working together on technical projects, such as the Energy Recovery Systems for the 2014 season.”
A few years ago Toyota and Honda withdrew from F1 racing, as it proved too expensive to go it alone. As of now the Red Bull car is powered by a Renault engine but we can only imagine that the name on the engine might change to INFINITI before long, especially if Nissan engineers have any major input.
From a purely financial point of view it makes tremendous sense for INFINITI to place its name on a successful team rather than try and build one from scratch. Such is the popularity of Formula One worldwide this alliance will undoubtedly help INFINITI establish itself as a key luxury brand as it expands its presence globally.