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Peter Anderson | Nov, 27 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Infiniti Becomes Red Bull Title Sponsor
  • Champion Vettel slams rivals' 'dirty tricks'
  • Vettel did not pass illegally en route to third title
  • Renault to supply F1 engines to more teams - Ghosn
  • Maldonado hopes for Williams news in 'coming days'

Infiniti Becomes Red Bull Title Sponsor

Japanese luxury marque Infiniti has become Red Bull Racing's title sponsor and principal technical partner in a four-year deal announced this week.

From 2013, the Red Bull team will be known as Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

The team, which is powered by engines from the Renault-Nissan empire's European factory in Viry-Chatillon, has carried Infiniti logos for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

“While our first 24-months have been very beneficial to both parties, our new deeper relationship will bring increased advantages to Infiniti and Red Bull Racing," Inifinti President, Johan de Nysschen said.

"As title partner, Infiniti Red Bull Racing will help us garner even more worldwide exposure for our brand, products and technology,”

The original tie-up, largely a marketing exercise, saw Sebastien Vettel put his name to a sporty SUV, and star in a campy short film with kung-fu action star Celina Jade.

Infiniti says that the branding exercise, which also included both Red Bull F1 pilots driving the Infiniti Emerg-E at Goodwood, has been very effective in its first year.

On the face of it, the carmaker's title sponsorship seems a curious choice, given the Red Bull image of extreme sports and attractiveness to a much younger demographic than Infiniti's.

As a massive global marketing platform however, the potential gains for the brand - in both sales and name recognition, will prove valuable.

Full details on the brand's promotion to principal technical partner are thin on the ground, although Adrian Newey, the team's technical director, mentioned KERS development as part of the collaboration.

The 2013 Formula One World Championship kicks off in Melbourne in March, and we'll see the first of the new cars in January during winter testing.



Champion Vettel slams rivals' 'dirty tricks'

After sealing his third consecutive drivers' title on Sunday, Sebastian Vettel bemoaned the "dirty tricks" his rivals deployed to try to stop him.

"A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks," the German said in a television interview immediately after the Brazilian grand prix.

Reporters furrowed their brows, wondering what Red Bull's 25-year-old German was referring to: Ferrari's deliberate gearbox penalty in Austin, perhaps, or Felipe Massa's blocking tactics at Interlagos?

Maybe the incessant and destabilising rumours of Vettel's switch to Ferrari, or suggestions Red Bull only wins because its car is illegal or the team refuses to stick to budget restraints?

"People tried everything, inside the lines and outside the lines, to beat us," he insisted.

Vettel refused to be much more specific than that.

"Sorry but I think I've mentioned everything I have to mention," he said.

"I think it's clear but it's not for us to rate ... we have to focus on what we have, what is in our hands and getting excited about what others are doing -- what's the point?" added Vettel.

He admitted, however, that given Red Bull's on and off-track struggles in 2012, victory in the end was particularly sweet.

"It is always important that you are happy with what you see in the mirror," said Vettel. "There is no point in being a fake or trying to cheat.

"I have made mistakes like everyone else, but the way I was brought up, I was told to be honest."

Vettel's defeated title adversary Fernando Alonso did not congratulate Vettel in his official post-race statement, but he insisted he did not feel beaten in Brazil.

"The championship was not lost here," France's RMC Sport quotes him saying.

"I lost the championship earlier, like when Grosjean went over my head (at Spa). There are many situations of the season that make me think about these 3 points, but that's sport.

"Even though I finished second, I have never had so much respect and affection from the people in the paddock.

"It is the first time that not only the fans, drivers, old drivers and even the teams have all told me that we did the best championship," said Alonso.

His countryman, former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari, agrees.

"The result in Brazil underlined that he (Alonso) is the world champion in terms of what he deserves," he told Mundo Deportivo newspaper.

"Sixth place for Brazil meant Vettel finished his third consecutive title in points and engineering talent," said Alguersuari.



Vettel did not pass illegally en route to third title

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's supporters were clinging to hope even after Sebastian Vettel sealed his third consecutive world championship on Sunday.

Replay footage from the Brazilian title showdown appeared to depict Red Bull's Vettel passing Kamui Kobayashi under yellow flags during the Interlagos race.

However, the apparent infraction was not investigated by the stewards during the race, raising suspicions the officials had not noticed.

So it became a post-race point of intrigue, given that if Vettel was subsequently demoted from sixth to eighth place, Alonso would have won the championship by a point.

"The yellow flag, (there's) not any news," the Spaniard told reporters after the podium ceremony.

Alonso said race winner Jenson Button had told him about the possibility Vettel had passed illegally.

"There was some kind of hope when he told me there is some yellow flag problem but then I think it was not true," he admitted.

Indeed, it was Ferrari's technical boss Pat Fry who clarified that the waving flag was actually coloured yellow and red, which is a warning to drivers about treacherous track conditions.



Renault to supply F1 engines to more teams - Ghosn

Renault is open to supplying more formula one teams with engines.

That is the news, after the French carmaker's president Carlos Ghosn made a visit at the weekend to the Brazilian grand prix.

Currently, Renault supplies engines to four teams: Red Bull, Lotus, Williams and Caterham.

But there have been reports the other Red Bull-owned team, Toro Rosso, will switch from Ferrari to Renault power for the new turbo V6 rules in 2014.

"During a small media round he (Ghosn) confirmed that Renault will equip more teams with engines," the journalist Mathias Brunner wrote in a Speed Week report from Interlagos.

With Craig Pollock's 2014 'Pure' engine foray now regarded as defunct, it is expected that HRT and Marussia supplier Cosworth will bow out of F1 along with the V8 rules at the end of next year.

"(For) 2014 we've got, as far as I know, only three manufacturers (Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes) committed to the sport," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said in Brazil.

But there remain rumours Honda, having pulled out of the sport at the end of 2008 amid the global financial crisis, is interested in the 2014 rules.

"But there's no concrete signs they're doing anything at the moment," said Ross Brawn, who was Honda's team principal.

"I gather, as a company, they're improving after some difficult years and I think there are lots of engineers there who would love to get involved."



Maldonado hopes for Williams news in 'coming days'

Pastor Maldonado is hopeful he will still be Williams' "first driver" in 2013.

It is expected the PDVSA-backed Spanish grand prix winner and Venezuelan will secure a new deal, but the famous British team is yet to announce its decision.

It is believed the only real uncertainty is over Maldonado's next teammate, amid speculation Williams intends to replace Bruno Senna with the Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas.

Maldonado told EFE news agency: "I'm sure next season will be better for the team, better for me.

"So far no one is confirmed (for 2013), neither Bruno nor myself, but Bruno has done a good job this year and contributed to the development of the car.

"Let's see what happens in the coming days. I hope to have a quick response and be confirmed," he added.

Maldonado, 27, said he enjoys being the driving "spearhead" at Williams.

"I really like the team and I think for a guy like me there is no better place to be," he said. "I would still be the spearhead of the team, the first driver."


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