Red Bull to run Infiniti engines?

UPDATE #2 (GMM) Red Bull's new sponsor deal with Infiniti was finally confirmed at midnight on Tuesday, but reports that it involves the rebadging of the team's Renault engines proved wide of the mark.

Infiniti is the premium division of the Japanese carmaker Nissan, which is also headed by Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

Speculation had suggested a deal with reigning champions Red Bull worth at least $11 million, covering the cost of the team's customer engine supply.

But it is not a rebadging deal but rather a "marketing agreement" involving "technical activities" for 2011 and 2012, read a media statement.

It will involve "high profile" on-car and clothing branding, and "future technical collaboration" between Infiniti, Renault and Red Bull.

"The Red Bull Racing team will continue to utilize the Renault F1 engines in 2011 and 2012", confirmed the statement.

Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary wrote that "the hope is that the partnership will evolve into something more substantial".

Prior to the lifting of a media embargo, team boss Christian Horner told Bloomberg on Monday that Red Bull will retain its usual livery but with the Infiniti logo in four places.

He told Reuters that a Japanese manufacturer entering F1 is "great news".

"Maybe it will encourage more to follow," said Horner.

02/27/11 Red Bull's Renault engines will be renamed Infiniti this season in a move that will boost the world champion team's budget by at least £7m. Infiniti – the premium brand of Japan's Nissan, part-owned by Renault – is using F1 to boost its global profile. The engines will be the same, branding aside, but the plan means Red Bull will get their engines for free. That will save the team 8m Euros (£6.8m) a year, the cost of all customer engine supplies in Formula 1. The Red Bull-Infiniti deal is expected to be announced officially at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday. BBC Sports

02/27/11 As reported back before Christmas, it looks like Red Bull Racing is not going to be running Renault engines in 2011, but will switch to Infiniti instead. It amounts to the same thing, of course, as Infiniti is a Nissan brand and Nissan and Renault are partners. The engine will be the same, only the badging will be different. Joe Saward

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