What's the point in an automaker pouring millions into an F1 team if it can't leverage a little star power? In Infiniti's case, it's not even running its own F1 team or even supplying engines. Instead, it's sponsoring the Red Bull Racing outfit that's out there defending both its titles. (That said, we wouldn't be surprised if Infiniti's involvement turned into an engine rebranding initiative for next season.)
As any marketing whiz could tell you, sponsorship is only worth as much as you promote it. So while Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel was in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix, he took a couple of Infiniti's finest for a spin.
Vettel being Vettel, he didn't just drive around the block: he took to the Shanghai International Circuit. (Or, at least an Autocross setup on the circuit's back lot.) And while he wasn't about to set any lap records behind the wheel of the G37 sedan or FX50 crossover, he seemed to enjoy the experience, hanging the G37's tail out making some smoke for the crowd. Follow the jump to watch the video footage and check out the still shots in the gallery below.
Related GallerySebastian Vettel and Infiniti at the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix
FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION SEBASTIAN VETTEL PUTS INFINITI ROAD CARS THROUGH THEIR PACES AHEAD OF THE CHINESE GRAND PRIX
Shanghai, China – April 14th, 2011: Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel started his Chinese Grand Prix weekend in style today by test driving two high performance Infiniti cars around a test track in Shanghai.
Fresh from his dominant win in last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the 23 year-old Red Bull Racing driver took to the wheel of a 5.0-litre V8 Infiniti FX50 followed by a 3.7-lite V6 Infiniti G37 and amazed onlookers by lapping the circuit at high speed and demonstrating the true handling capabilities of these luxury road cars.
After the driving session, Sebastian visited an Infiniti Center in Shanghai where he met fans and senior Infiniti executives, plus toured the showroom to take a closer look at the full Infiniti range.
Commenting on his experience, Sebastian Vettel said: "It was great fun to drive these Infiniti cars today. I was impressed; they have good handling and plenty of power – which is always a good mix – it was fun out on the track. I have been driving an FX50 myself recently, they're nice cars and it's great that more dealerships are opening in China."
From the 2011 season, Infiniti is a major partner of the Red Bull Racing team and features prominently on the race-winning RB7 driven by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.