Red Bull is considering a move to expand into the world of motoring outside the Formula 1 Championship.
The Championship winning Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing wants to be renowned as a serious engineering company away from the roar of the racetrack, and plans to use its links with Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan, to move into road car development.
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner told Autocar he wants to “use Red Bull's expertise outside F1.”
“Red Bull used to be known only as an energy drink company, but now it is recognized as an engineering team. It's a natural evolution for us to get involved in road car engineering,” Horner added.
Infiniti and Red Bull Racing chief plan is to co-develop an already existing Infiniti model to create a sports version, although Nissan's luxury department is remaining coy on which car is set to receive this honour.
Infiniti insiders are already suggesting brand awareness is rising because of the F1 tie-up with Red Bull. Even though the Red Bull Racing F1 cars use Renault engines, they support Infiniti branding. Branding for the Infiniti group has received a further boost by hiring Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel as a "global ambassador" for the company.
Red Bull Racing and Infiniti partnered earlier in the year, striking a ‘marketing and technical agreement’ which effectively meant Red Bull Racing would receive enough funding to effectively receive ‘free’ engines for the first time. Red Bull was paying the statutory £6.8million for their Renault engines, but the funding from Infiniti covered that amount, and Infiniti is also part-owned by Renault.
The agreement was the first time that a Japanese road-car manufacturer had been back in Formula 1 racing since 2009, when Toyota quit the sport, one year after Honda.
Red Bull was the only title-contending team who had to pay for their engines, even with their impressive history. Sebastian Vettel won the drivers’ title in 2010 to become the youngest champion in F1 history, and the team also won the constructors championship.
Renault and Nissan are hoping to increase Infiniti's presence in a highly competitive market, which will see them need to fight off manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
The companies partnered in 1999, with France's Renault holding a 44.3% shareholding in Nissan and the Japanese company owning 15% of Renault.
By Ben Malkin
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