Infiniti's renewed partnership with Red Bull stops short of rebranded engines

If you're going to sign a new sponsorship deal with a racing team, you might want to do so before the team wins the championship, not after. But Infiniti seems to have a different idea. Nissan's luxury division signed on as a sponsor for the Red Bull Racing team after it won the championship last season, and now that it's secured both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles again, the two have announced an extension of their arrangement.

When the deal was first announced, speculation ran rampant that it would extend to Infiniti "supplying" engines to the team. You see, Red Bull's cars get their power from engines made by Renault, which is part of the same corporate alliance as Infiniti. And since most automakers that get involved in F1 either start or buy their own teams or supply engines to existing ones, logic dictated that the deal between Infiniti and Red Bull would see Renault's engines rebranded, thereby making the team's official name Red Bull-Infiniti.

The rebranding arrangement wouldn't be unprecedented. McLaren, for example, once ran Porsche engines rebranded as TAG. Sauber did the same with Petronas-branded Ferrari engines. Cosworth engines have at times been branded as Ford, Fondmetal or European, while Mercedes engines are actually made by Ilmor, which supplied F1 engines under its own name in the early 90s before Benz bought out their F1 operations.

That apparently won't be the case with Red Bull and Infiniti, however. At least not for another year to come. Instead, the deal between the two outfits will see Infiniti's logos grow in size and placement on next year's cars and other team gear, as Infiniti works to leverage the cooperation in new ways. Official announcement after the jump.
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Japanese luxury car brand to expand program for 2012 Formula One Season

Yeongam, Korea (17th October 2011) – Infiniti, the luxury automotive brand from Japan, today announced it will expand its partnership with the Red Bull Racing Formula One team for the 2012 season. The announcement, made at the Korean Grand Prix, follows the win last weekend in Japan by Red Bull Racing driver and Infiniti global ambassador, Sebastian Vettel, of his second world drivers championship.

From 2012, Infiniti will feature more prominent branding on the Red Bull Racing F1 cars, with enhanced logos on the side of the chassis and cockpit top of the next generation car. The Infiniti name and logo will also be expanded to new areas on the drivers' overalls and team equipment. In addition, Infiniti and Red Bull Racing will increase the global and market leverage of their partnership through more marketing and media activities throughout the year.

Speaking at the Korean Grand Prix, Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Company, said: "When we announced the partnership back in March, our single objective was to boost global brand awareness for Infiniti. In just seven months, the results have exceeded even our most ambitious targets, leading to us to becoming the most highly-exposed automotive brand in Formula One this season. As we look ahead to the second year of our partnership with Red Bull Racing, we are now extending into exciting new areas of technical and product collaboration."

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner added: "In the short time we have been involved with Infiniti it has become clear that the closer we work together the more performance advantages can be gained by both sides. It has been a phenomenally successful first season to date, and deepening our partnership further provides us even more scope to share knowledge and expertise, leading to mutual benefits on the track and the road."

This accelerated program, just seven months after the partnership was announced, further solidifies Infiniti's shared vision with Red Bull Racing, with work streams already in place to develop the partnership into a technical collaboration. Infiniti will also continue to build on its personal agreement with Sebastian Vettel who has already worked on several projects with the company including the launch of the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

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