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Infiniti is hoping that the millions it spends sponsoring the Red Bull Racing team will pay off in the long run.
The idea behind automakers participating in Formula One is to bring some of the technologies developed for the highly-competitive racing series back to its road cars. That's how carbon-fiber construction, adaptive aerodynamics, sequential transmissions, carbon-ceramic brakes and so much more have found their way into the finest performance automobiles on the road. It's a formula which the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and numerous others have subscribed to, and it's one which Infiniti is keen to tap into as well.
Rather than field its own F1 team, the Japanese luxury auto marque has been steadily increasing its relationship with the Red Bull Racing team, and with the F1 season wrapping up today in Brazil, has just stepped it up again. The team will now be known as Infiniti Red Bull Racing, in an extention of a sponsorship that has already seen Infinit's name emblazoned on the team's cars and uniforms, and publicity campaigns with its star driver Sebastian Vettel. Although the automaker won't be directly supplying the team's engines, its sister-company Renault does, and Infiniti aims to make use of Red Bull's championship-winning engineers to improve its production cars.
Among the technologies which Infiniti hopes to adopt is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a hybrid drivetrain used in F1 that stores energy normally lost as dissipated heat in batteries (or alternatively a mechanical flywheel) and redeploys it for a boost of acceleration. Many of the automakers that compete in F1 have been working on KERS for road cars, and Infiniti's augmenting partnership with Red Bull ought to see the system deployed in Infiniti cars and crossovers you'll be able to buy within a few years from now.