Formula 1 is a lucrative way for brands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars worth of global exposure and the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is one of the top races on the yearly circuit, a senior executive behind the 2013 winning team told Arabian Business.
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a fantastic experience. This is definitely one of the top events of the year,” said Andreas Sigl, global director of Infiniti Formula One, said in an interview on the sidelines of the race on Sunday as their driver Sebastian Vettel finished in pole position and its team Infiniti Red Bull Racing won the 2013 Constructors’ Championships.
“It’s an unbelievably modern set-up here and is the only other race that goes into the darkness along with Singapore. It’s quite busy on the track and off the track and has become a destination that people from other regions fly into,’ he added.
Infiniti joined the UK-based Austrian Red Bull Racing team in 2013 as a title sponsor and Sigl said the deal has proven to be a great business move for the Japanese carmaker.
“We’re on a very aggressive growth plan and Formula One is a great global platform to provide worldwide awareness and strengthen our brand attributes. Through our partnership we have achieved over $250m of global brand exposure in the first year, in the second we got $339m and now the season is still running, but we just crossed $800m this year,” he said.
Sigl boasted Infiniti was currently the most visible automotive brand in F1, and consideration within their target market has increased by 60 percent.
Now that the automotive manufacturer has identified F1 as a strong business and marketing platform for the brand worldwide, the next logical step was to foster the technical aspect of their involvement.
“We came in as partner and not sponsor, because we bring more to the table than just paying for stickers. This year, we’ve stepped up as the technical partner. Instead of the 600 engineers that the team had, we offer 19,000. That’s something that they never had before and that’s what they get excited about,” Sigl said.
Infiniti’s aim is to have a team of engineers working within the F1 program that can use the collaboration to bring F1-inspired technology to their future road car projects.
“We have already seen the early results of such collaboration through the Infiniti FX Vettel Edition. Now, the new Infiniti Q50, which has been developed and tested in conjunction with Vettel and Sébastien Buemi, will make its regional debut at the Dubai International Motor Show and promises to bring together the world’s first technologies and unmatched levels of personalisation,” Sigl added.
“As we look to the future, our consumer vehicles will demonstrate increasingly more F1-inspired technology and design and be developed by F1-inspired people and processes. This is the second project that we do with Vettel. We brought him to Japan when the car was still in development and we went through several revisions till everything was finalised. This was a great opportunity and now we want to do this with him for all our other products,” he stated.