Winning attracts a high level of interest and the more you win, the more interest is gained. That’s the reality of Formula One and you need look no further than Red Bull’s success on track and new sponsorship deal as a tangible example of it. Red Bull have been teamed with Renault as an engine supplier for some time now and Renault’s interest in the Japanese luxury car brand Infiniti gained initial traction last year but now it seems that sponsorship will be increased substantially.
At first it may seem strange as Red Bull is, itself, a brand and product and one would think this is the title sponsor of the team…and it has been since its inception but the Red Bull mission is to bring other sponsors in and work with strategic partners to help propel the team forward. Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, is aiming to do just that. Team boss Christian Horner said:
“Red Bull Racing and Infiniti have been working on a number of initiatives since the start of our relationship in March 2011,” Horner said.
“During that time, Infiniti has demonstrated significant technical prowess and I’ve been impressed by the depth of the wider engineering capabilities of the Nissan Motor Company.
“In terms of marketing, Infiniti has leveraged their involvement with Red Bull Racing and Formula One very effectively and has become well known in a short space of time. These two attributes are what makes Infiniti the ideal title and technical partner for Red Bull Racing.”
As Formula One heads into a new era of regulation changes and sophisticated design, Red Bull’s chief brain, Adrian Newey, welcomes the technical partner:
“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.”
Even with a new partner, REnault are keen to keep things seperate from what Infiniti provides and what the french engine maker supplies. They want to make sure that everyone knows it is a Renault engine providing the shove behind Red Bull’s success as Sky Sports F1 has the story:
Carlos Ghosn, President of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said:
“I don’t think we want any confusion within the Alliance as to who does what. Renault changed and adapted its strategy in 2008 when most of the [manufacturers] went out of F1 and Renault stayed.
“We just changed our strategy and instead of being just a one-team player we wanted to be a multi-team player by bringing the heart of the competition, which is the engine.
“By having Renault supplying today one third of all the cars running and being for the third year in a row Champions with Red Bull is a validation of the strategy we have taken.”
More partners, more technical capabilities and more capacity. That could be part of why Red Bull aren’t very excited about the new Concorde Agreement with budget restraints and cost-cutting. When you have the resources of Red Bull and Nissan, it could make for a massive operation and technical effort. An effort that could match the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
Ferrari are and have always been a racing dynasty and their operation is massive with innovation and performance. The same could be said of Mercedes but McLaren could find they are missing a key element in their approach to Formula One from 2014 and beyond, a major partner for engine and technical development. Aligned with Mercedes for the foreseeable future, McLaren are not the main focus of the famous German marque as they have their own team to fret over and this leaves many wondering if and when McLaren will either develop their own engine or find a new partner with an apetite for F1 as a supplier.