The decision by Renault to  brand Red Bull Racing's F1 engines under the 'Infiniti' banner for the 2011 world championship season is at the same time eminently understandable and rather baffling.

It says much for the pull of F1's overall appeal that Renault should indulge in such a branding exercise, separating its own identity, which now embraces the two Lotus teams from the world championship trailblazers.

On  the other hand you might argue that this is F1 racing on the cheap.  Save yourself the expense of developing your own engine, or building your own car, and just stick a badge on a fully developed and highly competitive power unit. A short cut to success.  But then in the current economic climate perhaps it is being small-minded to carp unnecessarily.  The more the merrier, everybody welcome should be our watchword.

I found myself thinking that the Infiniti branding would have cut no mustard with the late Denis Jenkinson, longtime Continental Correspondent of Motor Sport magazine, who resolutely refused to credit Ford with the Cosworth DFV V8 or McLaren co-owner TAG with the Porsche-made 1.5-litre turbo which won three title crowns in the 1980s. 

Deep down Jenks was an engineer and all this branding malarkey was nothing more than PR flim-flam which amounted to a load of hot air.  The fact that Ford and TAG specifically commissioned and paid for these two brilliant engines was, in his mind, neither here nor there.

Things are different now.  At least for most of the time.