One of the core strengths of the Renault-Nissan Alliance is its capacity to create powerful industrial synergies in multiple areas such as R&D and production. From 2016 onwards, that approach will be mirrored in motorsport activities, with Alliance premium brand Infiniti joining Renault Sport Formula One Team as an active technical partner.
Infiniti enjoyed five years of successful sponsorship with Red Bull Racing, which was initiated through the Alliance partnership with the Anglo-Austrian team. Infiniti significantly increased its brand awareness over this period. With all targets met, Infiniti decided the time was right to take a step forward in the sport on a technical level.
Infiniti will use its expertise in hybrid technology and make a genuine contribution to the R.E.16 F1 Power Unit’s Energy Recovery System (ERS), which incorporates two motor generator units, the MGU-H and MGU-K, and a battery.
The MGU-K (K for kinetic) is connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Under braking, the MGU-K operates as a generator, recovering some of the kinetic energy dissipated during braking. It converts this into electricity for a boost equivalent to 120 kW or 160 bhp that can be deployed throughout the lap.
Acting as a generator, the MGU-H (H for heat) absorbs power from the turbine shaft to convert heat energy from the exhaust gases. The electrical energy can be either directed to the MGU-K or to the battery for storage for later use.
Infiniti has an excellent reputation for performance hybrid vehicles. The hybrid system in the Q70 has been recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest hybrid over a quarter mile and the Infiniti Q50 uses the same system. This strong and valuable expertise will be put to good use by the team in Viry-Châtillon as a team of Infiniti hybrid specialists move from Japan to France in 2016 to support development.
The partnership is based on a solid five year plan. Production car engineers will collaborate with F1 specialists, thus enabling the benefits to cross pollinate to Infiniti’s road car portfolio.
In parallel, Infiniti markets will continue to have access to Formula 1 for marketing activities.
Tommaso Volpe, Infiniti Motorsport Global Director, commented : ‘During our five years of sponsorship with Red Bull Racing, we achieved all our targets in terms of brand awareness. As an automotive company, the next step was to strengthen our credibility by becoming an active player within Formula 1. The creation of the Renault Sport Formula One Team with our Alliance partner Renault gives us an ideal opportunity to make this natural evolution from sponsor to technical partner.
‘Infiniti will have a direct input to the Energy Recovery System in the Renault Sport Formula One Team. Our know-how will benefit the team on track, but we will also learn a great deal in the extreme environment of F1 that we will be able to transfer back to our road car portfolio.
‘Our first target is to increase technical credibility supporting Renault Sport with our valuable expertise in hybrid technology, the second objective is to increase excitement and engagement for our customers, dealers and employees. The news has already been greeted with enormous enthusiasm within the company, which is critical in supporting our core business.’
RENAULT SPORT FORMULA ONE TEAM PARTNERS
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