When Red Bull Racing debuts its 2013 RB9 chassis, you’ll notice the Infiniti name is featured a bit more prominently than in years past. You’ll also see a new name for the team, as Red Bull Racing becomes Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season.
Infiniti announced its title sponsorship of the team following Sunday’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. The race saw Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel pick up his third consecutive driver’s championship, while Red Bull Racing picked up its third consecutive constructor’s championship.
Infiniti’s sponsorship of Red Bull Racing began with the 2011 season, and the luxury automaker will now become a major technical partner for the team. Infiniti will use the resources of Nissan Motor Company to help Red Bull develop Energy Recovery Systems specified by the 2014 F1 competition rules.
The move will help Infiniti sell more cars, too, as the brand is expanding into markets where F1 is the dominant form of motorsport. In 2012, Infiniti began sales in Singapore, Chile, the Dominican Republic, South Africa and Australia, and two of these markets have corresponding F1 races (while most of the others have legions of F1 fans).
Next year, Infiniti will enter the market in Hong Kong, and sales in Brazil are expected to begin in 2014. Expect to see a significant marketing focus on this partnership in affluent markets (like Hong Kong, where Infiniti has its global headquarters) and in markets passionate about racing (like Brazil).
Infiniti’s title sponsorship of Red Bull Racing runs through the 2016 season, and drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber return for the 2013 season. As long as Infiniti Red Bull Racing remains one of the sport’s dominant teams, we’d call this a sound investment in Infiniti’s future.