Infiniti VP Simon Sproule with Sebastian Vettel

One of the benefits to fielding, powering or sponsoring an F1 team is that it comes with access to some of the world's best drivers. That's especially attractive for automakers, who often use the grand prix pilots to demonstrate their cars' capabilities. In the case of Infiniti's sponsorship of the Red Bull Racing team, that includes defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

The German driver has already appeared on Infiniti's behalf on several occasions, including a demonstration at the Chinese Grand Prix this year. But the Japanese luxury automaker (whose sister-company Renault powers Vettel's RB7) is keen to further cement the relationship, announcing a direct contract with Vettel to act as its global brand ambassador.

The strengthened ties are sure to see Seb peddling Infiniti's wares around the world, and we'll be watching to see if he ends up lending a hand in the development of the next Infiniti performance model. Details in the press release after the jump.
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INFINITI ANNOUNCES FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION SEBASTIAN VETTEL AS GLOBAL BRAND AMBASSADOR

Yokohama, Japan – May 25th, 2011: Infiniti, the luxury car manufacturer from Japan, today announces it has signed Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel as its first ever Global Brand Ambassador.

The collaboration with Sebastian Vettel comes two months after Infiniti announced a major partnership with the Red Bull Racing team. The 23 year-old F1 star will be taking an active role in raising the profile of the Infiniti brand and its products during race weekends and at selected events linked to Infiniti's business and product programs.

From the start of the 2011 Formula One season, Infiniti has joined as a major partner of the Red Bull Racing team and features prominently on the race-winning RB7 driven by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Like many in the Red Bull Racing team, Sebastian has been driving products from the Infiniti range, both as his personal car but also at the different races around the world.

Commenting on his new global role, Sebastian Vettel said: "Since our first contact with Infiniti I liked their cars. A car can impress you in two ways: its looks and its handling. After I had the chance to test some cars in the range I became a big fan. They are comfortable as well as sporty when you ask for it. I am sure we as a team and myself can benefit a lot from the experience of Infiniti and I am very much looking forward to our partnership in the future."

Simon Sproule, CVP Global Marketing Communications, Nissan Motor Company added: "Red Bull Racing have demonstrated over the course of their short history in F1 that they are a great challenger brand, unafraid of taking their own approach to creating a winning team. At the core of this emergence has been the inspired performance of Sebastian Vettel. As we developed the partnership with the team, so it was a natural progression to also work more closely with Sebastian and today we formally welcome him to the Infiniti team"

About Infiniti:

Infiniti, the luxury automotive brand from Japan, reflects its brand promise "Inspired Performance" with a model line-up of sedans, coupés, SUVs and crossovers featuring exhilarating performance, emotive design and cutting edge technology. Infiniti continues to launch across the globe through a dedicated network of Infiniti Centres that share a commitment to exceptional hospitality throughout the entire period of ownership.

For all Infiniti F1-related content including videos, press releases and hi-res photography, go to: www.infiniti-performanceteam.com