LE CASTELLET, France (May 28, 2013) – Less than 24 hours after claiming second place in the incident-packed 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, Formula One Triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel was back on track at the famous Circuit Paul Ricard in his role as Director of Performance for Infiniti.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver spent the day evaluating the latest Infiniti road cars and their competitors, accompanied by experts from Infiniti’s European Dynamic Performance Team based at the company’s development centres in Bonn, Germany and Barcelona, Spain.
Sebastian’s role as Director of Performance is significant in providing input to the team and we are very excited to be working closely with him,” said Bravo. “Today was the first opportunity we have had to dive into what he wants and expects from a premium, performance road car so we’ll be able to take his critical evaluation into account as we as we develop the driving and performance attributes of Infiniti’s next generation Q cars.”
Bravo’s team of specialist engineers spent several hours with Vettel driving a number of the latest premium performance road cars over the legendary Paul Ricard circuit in France which now operates as a first class test facility.
The goal was for the engineers to hear directly from Vettel his views on important vehicle attributes like handling, steering feel and response, vehicle agility and ride comfort.
“As new Infiniti cars are created, it is really important for us to develop them with their own consistent driving style, so it has been really useful to be able to drive so many cars hard and back-to-back on the same track,” said Vettel. “Similar to Formula One cars, it’s interesting to feel how different cars are configured for steering response and braking as well as driver assistance features like ESP and Traction Control. Getting these things right is what makes a good car great.”
Sebastian Vettel was announced as Director of Performance for Infiniti at the 2013 New York International Auto Show in April.
This role extends and enhances Vettel’s relationship with the premium automotive brand which formally began in 2011. In this capacity, Vettel already has played a crucial role in developing Infiniti’s current vehicle line-up, starting with the exclusive Infiniti FX Vettel Edition and its latest model, the all-new Infiniti Q50.
Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said: “The enhanced role Sebastian has taken on with Infiniti is another step in the integration of our Formula One program into the Infiniti product development process. His uncanny sensitivity to chassis set-up has made him very popular with our development engineers, who relish the opportunity to achieve great precision in suspension, braking and steering calibration. This is great news for Infiniti drivers who will directly benefit from the excellent vehicle dynamics.”
For the all-new Infiniti Q50, Vettel spent time with Infiniti engineers in Japan early in the development process to provide them with his world-class chassis dynamics, performance and handling feedback.
He was then involved in testing early models alongside Infiniti Red Bull Racing Test and Reserve driver Sebastien Buemi in Japan, around the famed Nürburgring in Germany, and at the Formula One pre-season test at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya last March.
This week’s testing session at Circuit Paul Ricard will directly influence future Infiniti models, including an exciting premium entry compact model, expected to be produced in Europe from 2015, allowing the company to compete in the heart of the premium segment for the first time.