Even if you haven’t heard of car maker “Infiniti” you’re going to have heard of Formula One Team “Red bull Racing” as the reigning F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is one of their drivers and in the next two years, the Infiniti branding is going to be carried by on their cars and on things such as drivers and teams overalls.
So what’s going on? Well, despite it seems the Red Bull team only being in existence to promote an extremely expensive soft drink, they have clearly done the job very well, but that’s in major part been as a result of an agreement to use engines provided by French car maker Renault. Renault have been in and around F1 since the 70’s as an F1 constructor, but have provided engines to many other teams and powered the cars that have won 6 world drivers championships and 7 manufacturers constructor titles.
However, Renault and Japanese car maker Nissan are very closely and financially linked together and the brand “Infiniti” is Nissans luxury brand (its like Lexus to Toyota) and in an effort to get worldwide publicity for the Infiniti brand, Red Bull and Renault have done a deal to use the branding for at least the 2011 and 2012 grand prix seasons.
It had first been thought that the Renault Sport F1 2.4-litre V8 engines that power the Red Bull, would be re-branded as Infiniti, however, due to the fact that Renault had developed and built the engines, its probably right that somebody else shouldn’t turn up and takes the rewards for it, so the branding will now only be to the car, drivers and team.
It’s not all superficial though as Infiniti is a fine car and its engineers are going to form a technical collaboration with the Red Bull engineers and rumour has it they will develop the RBR’s KERS, “kinetic energy recovery system” which many think will go on to be a feature of road cars in the years to come.
Developments from motor sport have always been adopted by car makers and even if we don’t know it, in many ways, the cars we drive are very closely linked to those we see on our TV screens on a summer Sunday afternoon. So despite its apparent decadence, F1 and other forms of motor sport are important, as they help to ensure the cars we drive everyday are safe, reliable and economic.