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.”