Sports / Motor news

Premium auto brand gearing up for new season on F1 circuit

By Li Fusheng (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-16 07:32

Premium auto brand gearing up for new season on F1 circuit

The RB9 has been proven to be Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team's most successful car yet.

Infiniti will continue its sponsorship of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team, carrying forward the momentum it built in 2013 into this year.

The team's Sebastian Vettel wrapped up the 2013 season by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix, and in doing so, he won the Constructors Championship for Infiniti Red Bull Racing for the fourth consecutive year.

The sport's youngest four-time world champion, 26-year-old Vettel became the first driver to take nine successive victories in a single year and matched fellow German Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of 13 wins in a season.

It was a landmark year for Infiniti. After a four-year extension of its partnership with the racing team, the premium automaker became its title partner and vehicle performance partner in 2013.

Commenting on the relationship, Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said, "Our stronger link with Infiniti starting in 2013 is part of the natural evolution of our team and demonstrates its growth".

"We are still a young racing outfit, and this title partnership is a very welcome aspect of our development. I firmly believe it will prove to be of enormous benefit on both sides over the coming years."

Adrian Newey, the race team's chief technical officer, said, "Formula One presents immense design and engineering challenges on a daily basis. Having a committed technical partner like Infiniti gives us a great platform for working together on technical projects, such as the Energy Recovery Systems for the 2014 season."

With the renewal of this partnership, their relationship has become more technologically focused and the two sides have joined together on a number of engineering and development projects.

In February 2013, the two unveiled RB9, a brand-new racing car. It proved to be the team's most successful car yet, with its 13 wins edging out the dozen victories scored in 2011 with the RB7.

In December, the car won the prize for Racing Car of the Year, and Vettel was named International Racing Driver of the Year at the 2013 Autosport Awards in the UK, the fourth year in a row the driver and team have been honored.

Actually, Vettel has been working even closer with the automaker. He was appointed Infiniti's brand ambassador in 2011 and director of performance in last April.

Premium auto brand gearing up for new season on F1 circuit

He contributed to the development of the automaker's landmark Q50 model, a rival of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz's C Class by spending time with Infiniti engineers early in the development process and giving them feedback on chassis dynamics, performance and handling.

Together with Sebastien Buemi, Vettel also test drove and evaluated the model before it hit the market.

He also helped fine-tune the car's Direct Adaptive Steering system, the world's first electronic steer-by-wire system, inspired by latest jet aircraft technology.

The Q50 is the first of a new generation of Infiniti cars that premiered at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January and aims to set new benchmarks in terms of styling, advanced technology and performance.

The model made its Asian debut at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2013 and will be launched in China this spring.

Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen said, "The first Infiniti in our new lineup had to reflect the brand's core values of seductive design, passionate attention to detail, precision in fit and finish, exhilarating performance and a provocative challenge to the status quo. The Q50 certainly does that. This is the first step in the launch of our exciting global expansion plan."

Vettel will also take part in the development of an upcoming premium compact model previewed in the Infiniti Q30 Concept.

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