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Wednesday 26th September 2012

What is Infiniti doing in F1?

PH went to the Belgian GP to ask important people hard questions about the Infiniti-Red Bull tie-up



If you know two-fifths of anything about Formula 1, you’ll probably have paused to wonder about the Red Bull-Infiniti deal that started last year. If you're a cynic, although there’s nothing from the PH forums to suggest that could possibly be true, then you may have gone down this path:

- Red Bull + Renault V8 engine + Vettel = two world championships
- Renault + Nissan = commercial partnership
- Nissan to the power of 3 = Infiniti
- Infiniti struggles for recognition in many markets
- Overnight, Red Bull Renault becomes Red Bull Infiniti, and everyone wants to buy the new posh Nissan.

Some of this is actually true. The deal wasn’t sealed until the night before 2011's Geneva show, in a downtown Swiss hotel. Seb and Christian Horner appeared the next morning on the Infiniti show stand, trying to look terribly excited about things like “synergy”. Or possibly money.

Simon Sproule is the man who pulled the deal together. He’s a Corporate Vice President at Nissan, passionate that the company has chosen the right avenue rather than Premier League football, sailing or any of the other high-rolling sports.

You can easily see the brand association
You can easily see the brand association
The Nissan-Renault link was critical, so Sproule looked at Renault-powered GP cars: Lotus in both its incarnations (one is now Caterham), plus Red Bull. Bernie got involved too – Infiniti was the only major sponsor likely to join F1 in 2011, and he was as keen as anyone to bring more money into the sport. As you may have heard.

Infiniti is a brand that still is hardly known outside Japan and the US. Launching in Europe with 3.7 V6 and 5.0 V8 petrol engines wasn’t the best idea for mass acceptance here, so the management needs to work out a way to get Infiniti onto a broader radar.

One way is to build smaller cars, and it’s no secret that within a couple of years there will be a Mercedes A/B-Class rival with Merc engines. Short term, though, there’s a need to boost awareness and to explain what the hell Infiniti stands for. F1 was deemed to be the solution.
Busier than LIDL on Pensioner's Tuesday
Busier than LIDL on Pensioner's Tuesday

Certainly, Red Bull is a funky partner. The crew is the youngest on the pit lane, the garage echoes with music, the dynamic is at the opposite end of the spectrum to corporate McLaren. Yet, as we stand in the back of the garage when Webber makes his tyre stop at Spa, the professionalism is never in doubt.

So, how does it all come together for Infiniti and, indeed, Red Bull?

For the carmaker it’s all about exposure. TV airtime measurements show that of the top 100 brands involved in F1, Infiniti is already fourth, behind Red Bull, Vodaphone and Total.That’s impressive, and it shows the value of picking the right F1 team, whatever the cost.

But it still begs an important question. How do you convert an awareness of “Infiniti” into knowledge that it makes luxury cars you should be buying?
He tried pulling the wheel off once
He tried pulling the wheel off once

The Infiniti FX Vettel Edition is one way. It's a lighter, faster bespoke version of the large SUV which (all cynicism aside) genuinely had input from the German. 50 will be built and 15 are already sold, for €120,000 a pop.

And Red Bull? Is there seriously anything in this arrangement for the team?  Nissan/Infiniti is a world leader in electric cars and, crucially, the company is looking far further ahead than Red Bull ever can. The potential for high-end developments years into the future is something an F1 team simply doesn’t have the capacity to handle. Even if, like Red Bull, it employs over 500 people to run just two cars for 20 races a year.

There is something slightly Alice in Wonderland about this last scenario. We made a lightning tour of the Red Bull HQ before buzzing out to Spa in an FX50.  All these people, all that money, all that effort, going into building a couple of racing cars which will need updating by the time each race ends.
From here to (insert missing word)
From here to (insert missing word)

And yet the rapid development of new technology is amazing, and the employment prospects for engineers, the majority British, is second to none. Infiniti insists it can add knowledge and expertise, as well as money, to all this.

Read about our trip to Spa with Infiniti here.

pburgess000
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Author Discussion

Nick Young

Original Poster:

199 posts

135 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
All I can say is that anyone that hasn't tried a G37 coupé with it's glorious 3.7 V6 is missing out! smile

Matt Harper

3,555 posts

86 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I think the missing word is "eternity".

loudlashadjuster

1,158 posts

69 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Vodaphone?

Excellent brand penetration there then... wink

kentmotorcompany

2,404 posts

95 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
So?

Watchman

3,044 posts

130 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Article said:
TV airtime measurements show that of the top 100 brands involved in F1, Infiniti is already fourth, behind Red Bull, Vodaphone and Total
TV airtime measurements? WTF are they?

And seriously..??.. no Ferrari or McLaren "brand" amongst them? I wouldn't base my multi-million dollar marketting campaign on information so obviously flawed.
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LotusOmega375D

2,508 posts

38 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Matt Harper said:
I think the missing word is "eternity".
"to eternity and beyond!"

Infiniti really is a cr@p name. Sounds like a cosmetics brand, or something that ladies apply in the vicinity of their unmentionable.

Edited by LotusOmega375D on Tuesday 25th September 16:00

dvance

603 posts

53 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
LotusOmega375D said:
"to eternity and beyond!"

Infiniti really is a cr@p name. Sounds like a cosmetics brand, or something that ladies apply in the vicinity of their unmentionable.

Edited by LotusOmega375D on Tuesday 25th September 16:00
Does not matter what it sounds like to me -- they are currently (if not mistaken) the only car manufacturer that produces cars with all wheel steering. Now that's cool in my book.

Podie

41,430 posts

160 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Watchman said:
Article said:
TV airtime measurements show that of the top 100 brands involved in F1, Infiniti is already fourth, behind Red Bull, Vodaphone and Total
TV airtime measurements? WTF are they?

And seriously..??.. no Ferrari or McLaren "brand" amongst them? I wouldn't base my multi-million dollar marketting campaign on information so obviously flawed.
Who are "vodaphone"..?

(it's "vodafone")

nickbee

423 posts

122 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
The Infiniti showroom on Piccadilly has a stop/go pitlane lollipop and some other Red Bull paraphernalia on display in the window. It looks very out-of-place and it took me a moment to realise they were a sponsor. It was only on reading this article that I realised the link. I watch F1 and am one of the minority who knows what Infiniti is. I doubt 99% of the population will ever make the link.

I'd suggest that the advertising perhaps isn't as effective as they think.

Crow555

1,036 posts

79 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Nick Young said:
All I can say is that anyone that hasn't tried a G37 coupé with it's glorious 3.7 V6 is missing out! smile
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is that the one that's sold as the newest Nissan Skyline in Japan? (NOT the GTR!)

PAULJ5555

1,446 posts

61 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Don't Lada sponser Renault?

Captain Muppet

8,063 posts

150 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Watchman said:
Article said:
TV airtime measurements show that of the top 100 brands involved in F1, Infiniti is already fourth, behind Red Bull, Vodaphone and Total
TV airtime measurements? WTF are they?

And seriously..??.. no Ferrari or McLaren "brand" amongst them? I wouldn't base my multi-million dollar marketting campaign on information so obviously flawed.
I'm pretty sure that "F1" is a brand, how do they do in TV airtime measurements during F1? Really lower than fourth?

nickbee

423 posts

122 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Captain Muppet said:
I'm pretty sure that "F1" is a brand, how do they do in TV airtime measurements during F1? Really lower than fourth?
And those guys that make the tyres. Pirenni? Pizelli? Firelli? Whatever they're called. They're obviously low on the list too.

Joking aside, apart from companies who actually supply teams, I can only think of a handful of F1 sponsors.

Matt Harper

3,555 posts

86 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
LotusOmega375D said:
"to eternity and beyond!"

Infiniti really is a cr@p name. Sounds like a cosmetics brand, or something that ladies apply in the vicinity of their unmentionable.

Edited by LotusOmega375D on Tuesday 25th September 16:00
The caption read, "From here to (insert missing word)". I don't think the answer is "Infiniti".

LotusOmega375D

2,508 posts

38 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Matt Harper said:
LotusOmega375D said:
"to eternity and beyond!"

Infiniti really is a cr@p name. Sounds like a cosmetics brand, or something that ladies apply in the vicinity of their unmentionable.

Edited by LotusOmega375D on Tuesday 25th September 16:00
The caption read, "From here to (insert missing word)". I don't think the answer is "Infiniti".
I know. I just wanted to extrapolate on your post. They got that caption wrong, so I thought I'd add another deliberate mistake. Just my weird sense of humour.

Matt Harper

3,555 posts

86 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
LotusOmega375D said:
I know. I just wanted to extrapolate on your post. They got that caption wrong, so I thought I'd add another deliberate mistake. Just my weird sense of humour.
Got it! Sorry you had to spell it out for me thumbup

Luca Brasi

839 posts

59 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Who actually buys this stuff in Europe, I hardly ever see one.

TheHeretic

73,668 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Nick Young said:
All I can say is that anyone that hasn't tried a G37 coupé with it's glorious 3.7 V6 is missing out! smile
I had a G35 in the states. I really liked it.

Nick Young

Original Poster:

199 posts

135 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Crow555 said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is that the one that's sold as the newest Nissan Skyline in Japan? (NOT the GTR!)
Yes, I believe so....

xRIEx

3,217 posts

33 months

[news] 
Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Nick Young said:
All I can say is that anyone that hasn't tried a G37 coupé with it's glorious 3.7 V6 is missing out! smile
I haven't tried a G37 and I'm not missing out.
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