F1 world champ's dominance is turning off TV viewers, impacting on Infiniti's return for its sponsorship of Red Bull; more Vettel special edition road cars to come
7 November 2013

The engineering, sales and marketing boss of Red Bull Formula 1 sponsor Infiniti has admitted Sebastian Vettel’s current dominance is bad news for the firm at the moment – but believes the German’s emerging status as a legend of the sport will justify its investment in the longer-term.

Talking about Vettel’s success in 2013, which has included 11 race wins so far this year and seen him scoop the world championship with four races of the season to run, Andy Palmer said: “It’s a fact that we are in F1 to gain awareness of our brand, and that’s all about getting eyeballs on screens.

"From that point of view you could say Sebastian has been too successful. Wrapping up the championship with four races to run is maybe not good news for us from that perspective.

“But we have to look at it from the long-term perspective. It’s clear that Sebastian is emerging as a legend of the sport – someone’s whose records will stand him as a giant of the sport in years to come. He’s achieving that success with us, and working with us as a brand ambassador.

“If he wins the final two races of the year then he will be making history. The beauty is that, where other drivers would have taken a holiday after winning the championship, Seb has come back more determined than ever. He is very conscious of the history of the sport, and he appreciates his place in it. I think that drive is one of the things that makes him special.”

Palmer also confirmed that the company has more Vettel special editions planned in the future. At present, the Infiniti FX Vettel special edition is the only bespoke road car to be created as a result of the partnership, although Vettel has been involved in development testing of the Infiniti Q30 and Infiniti Q50.

“The beauty of Seb is that he won’t get involved in any project that isn’t utterly authentic,” said Palmer. “So he turns up at our test days and puts in the hard work. It’s a genuine benefit, and we have plans to use his expertise on more models bearing his name. But the point is we want to do them properly, and that means they are inevitably a couple of years down the line in the product cycle.” 

Our Verdict

The Infiniti FX is an interesting alternative to the norm, but lacks space and comfort to compete in this class

Join the debate

Comments
9

7 November 2013
To be utterly honest what's put me off F1 this year is the tyres. They're simply not good enough. F1 should be a sprint race, not an endurance one. When you look at motorsport and wheel to wheel racing it's the threat of an overtake which is exciting. In F1 overtaking became too difficult, so KERS was added. But both drivers had KERS so they could use that together; one didn't have an advantage over the other. Then DRS added to give the chasing car an advantage. The problem with DRS is getting it just right. It's either not effective enough, or far too effective making overtakes far too easy. Ultimately, however, you're starting a grand prix with the fastest drivers at the front. Don't be surprised if they end the race in that order.

7 November 2013
Symanski@ If Bernie gets his P45,do you think F1 will get better,or worse....?

Peter Cavellini.

7 November 2013
I have been writing for years that F1 has lost its core attraction because of rapid degradation of tyres. Fuel stops and tyre changes are a waste of time. Change the format to a 2 race weekend - no artificial stops. Just 2 flat out races of say 30 laps. If any of the former top F1 "racing" pilots were in the game today - Senna / Mansell to name but two........... I believe that they would struggle as much as Hamilton. When an F1 driver today attempts to overtake another, he is at risk of destroying his rubber. The whole thing is a farce. As good as Vettel may be, his titles are devalued.

Malo Mori Quam Foedari

7 November 2013
I'd have thought Infiniti would be upset as the fact that Vettel disappears off into the distance means the cameras don't bother following him until the final lap, so they get very little screen time for their logo, and it's not like their brand gets read out when talking about the team. Mind you, whoever sponsors the Caterhams and Marussias is probably getting the worst value - how many millions for zero screen time?

7 November 2013
Given Renault-Nissan are the same company these days, and Infiniti is Nissan's Lexus, why don't they badge the engines as Infiniti? Therefore 'Red Bull Infiniti' would be heard every time he wins. It is getting a little like the 2000s, with Schmacher's dominance being ever predicatable. The KERS and DRS are a little too 'Mario Kart boost' for serious motorsport. And if any driver dares to make a risky move, or shows any sign of personality whatsoever, they're penalised by an overly strict FIA.

7 November 2013
@Peter Cavellini. You raise an interesting question; would F1 be better or worse off with or without Bernie? There's little doubt that Bernie chases the money. Hence why the Arab races at track with few spectators. Even in the Far East. That should bring more money for the teams with a global presence for sponsors too. Where he's bad is that those tracks tend to be dull. The sporting and entertainment value is dreadfully low. And when few people turn up to watch them you could have the races held anywhere like round your local supermarket car park. He rules F1 like a dictator. And that's exactly what F1 needs as you'd never get all the teams to agree! He lets them think they've got a certain amount of freedom but if there's anything he doesn't agree with its quickly put right. He's also wise enough and experienced enough that he's seen everybody's negotiational plays many times before and knows how to work round them. He can play with the media because he's seen them come, he's seen them go. I know that's a cliché, but never has it been so appropriate. To answer your question directly there are parts of Bernie’s business policy which is right, and parts of the entertainment that’s wrong. I believe it was Ken Tyrrell who said you’ve got to admire what Bernie has made out of F1 especially considering he didn’t own it in the first place!

7 November 2013
I've long believed that to make F1 more of an honest challenge and more exciting the link between drivers and teams should be severed. Each driver should complete two races for each team, or however many required so that each drives each car. Prize money is awarded based on results with drivers and teams paid from a central pot. This makes the contest fairer for all concerned. There would be issues of course, but nothing insurmountable.

7 November 2013
It may change next year with the new rules. Ban the DRS Ban the radio Ban the telemetry Come back of gravel and grass outside the track. We want a circuit, not a parking.

14 November 2013
i think if bernie leaves f1 it will improve he has been there way to long and has to much power it seems to be his way or no way f1 needs some new thinking

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week