Infiniti: Sebastian Vettel's role is no gimmick
Infiniti has insisted that its tie up with Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel is far more than a marketing stunt.
The triple world champion is the brand's director of performance and plays a major part in developing the manufacturers' road cars.Only this week the German driver was at Nissan's Cranfield engineering site chatting to the Nissan and Infiniti engineers.
"Sebastian's feedback about road cars is worth six times more than a normal engineer as he has the ability to detect the tiniest nuances in set up," said an Infiniti Red Bull Racing spokesman.
"Infiniti is now our title partner and that partnership works both ways - Infiniti RBR benefits from having access to the 19,000 engineers employed by Nissan, and Infiniti benefits from having two world class drivers at their disposal for testing."
Vettel is currently working hard on developing the new Q50 model and is helping the car manufacturer tune it perfectly.
"Seb isn't all about performance, he wants road cars to be accessible and comfortable too," said the spokesman. "He talks to the Infiniti engineers about what he feels. His touch and senses are far greater than 'normal' drivers so he can sense what needs attention and in many cases knows how to fix it."
Infiniti is keen to use the link to the world championship winning team to highlight its road cars as it attempts to build up the brand's image in markets where it's less well known, like the UK.
Infiniti F1 director Andreas Sigl said: "When Infiniti built a link with motorsport, we knew we wanted to partner with not only a winning team, but with an engineering company who had the same mindset as us. That's why we chose Red Bull.
"Our midterm plan up until 2016 is to focus on our product and improve overall brand power by increasing awareness."
Sigl also hinted that technology honed on the F1 circuits would transfer across to Infiniti road cars too. Hybrid drive trains and regenerative braking are two they're most keen at developing further.
Infiniti head of vehicle design and development Jerry Hardcastle added: "Our partnership with Red Bull means that two competent engineering teams can exchange and develop each other's performance both on the race circuit and on the road.
"There are many opportunities below the surface which we try to identify, and one area in particular is materials. Infiniti can provide advance lightweight material, which is attractive to Red Bull. Similarly, Red Bull is also interested in our hybrid drive trains and energy management technology, for the regulation changes next season."
Hardcastle assured AOL Cars that it will remain a performance brand too – developing more exciting road cars in the future.
"We have always been a performance brand and Infiniti is the fourth premium member of the industry, alongside BMW, Mercedes and Audi and that's where we plan to stay," he added.