By Nancy Knapp Schilke
Earlier today the news broke about the German manufacture Mercedes and now the Japan-based Nissan group has announced their own partnership with the Red Bull Formula One team. Due to the alliance between the French-based Renault team, Infiniti will be a new partner with the reigning championship team for two years, starting with 2011.
The luxury brand under the Nissan umbrella will focus on "high-profile marketing and technical activities" per Infiniti's press release. Renault is the powerplant for Red Bull Racing even though they have their own Formula 1 team.
Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Infiniti said: "Over the mid-term, Infiniti will be simultaneously expanding its global presence and broadening its product range. Given these twin ambitions, it is clear that Formula One offers us an unrivaled global communications platform, complementing Infiniti's ethos of Inspired Performance. We are excited to have the opportunity to enter Formula One together with a world-class team like Red Bull Racing Renault."
Renault and Nissan are well known names in motor sports, having competed on many levels, especially in sports cars and open-wheel but the Infiniti brand is not a common household name regarding auto racing. The change came after the formation of the alliance between the two manufacturers, which was in 1999. In 2005, Infiniti joined the Grand-Am Rolex sportscar series with their V8 engine in the Hyper Sport Daytona Prototype.
Bernard Rey, President of Renault Sport F1 further endorsed the new deal: "While Renault is rightfully very proud of our achievements within Formula One, we know the future is about collaboration. To have a talented and committed Alliance partner like Infiniti is very welcome as we set out on the current and future challenges in Formula One. So it is with great pleasure that I would like to welcome Andy Palmer and his entire team in our Formula One adventure, and I look forward to starting the 2011 season together as Alliance partners."
Infiniti will work with Renault to forge future technical collaboration with Red Bull Racing. The Red Bull Racing team will continue to utilize the Renault F1 engines in 2011 and 2012.
Red Bull Racing's Team Principal Christian Horner, who was instrumental in pulling the agreement together, said: "Red Bull has always taken a different approach, so when the Infiniti executives outlined their innovative plan to us we were very open to working with them. Coming off the back of our 2010 Drivers' and Constructors' World Championships, we feel even more excited to be starting the 2011 season with a new and committed partner like Infiniti."
It will be interesting to see what the future will bring for Renault and Infiniti in the future.