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DNF for Infiniti-Red Bull Formula 1 connection

The parties have agreed to terminate their partnership prematurely at the end of this year

Published: December 8, 2015, 2:55 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:21 PM

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nissan-Infiniti and the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team are parting ways.

According to the automaker, they have reached mutual agreements to discontinue their commercial partnership at the end of December this year.

Infiniti and Red Bull Racing began their commercial partnership in 2011, with Infiniti becoming the title sponsor of the team in 2013. In addition to Infiniti withdrawing its title sponsorship of the race team, Nissan will no longer provide light commercial vans to Red Bull Racing.

Infiniti Red Bull F1 - 2013

While the partnership has had it successes – the team won four consecutive Formula 1 constructor and driver world championship titles between 2010 and 2013 – it has encountered tougher times on and off the track the past two seasons.

With the adoption of new hybrid powerplants in 2014, the team lost its competitive edge. Then, at the end of that season, its star driver, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, defected to Ferrari.

Along the way, the two key proponents of Infiniti's F1 involvement, Nissan's executive vice-president, Andy Palmer and corporate vice-president, marketing communications, Simon Sproule both left the company – and are now with Aston Martin.

Complicating the issue, Nissan's Alliance partner Renault supplied power units to the Red Bull team – which loudly blamed those units for its under-performance the past two seasons.

Now, Renault has announced that it will purchase the current Lotus F1 operation and return in 2016 with a full team under its own name.

As for Red Bull,  it is contracted for a continued supply of Renault power units through 2016. But there are no commercial ties associated with that deal and those powerplants will carry Tag Heuer branding, in recognition of the team's new major sponsor.