Current Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel definitely knows what performance is. That is why Infiniti product strategists are leaning on him to help develop a performance sub-brand for the luxury marque. In fact, Vettel, who serves as director of performance at Infiniti, has been test driving a prototype of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge at the Millbrook Proving Ground in England and at the same giving very important feedback on its performance.
Michael Bartsch, vice president of Infiniti Americas remarked that Vettel is tasked with carefully assessing handling, suspension, components and packaging of up and coming Infiniti models.
Bartsch quipped Sebastian's interpretation of a performance car brings a “very contemporary perspective to it."
Bartsch noted that once a person with Vettel’s credibility and skill set test drives a car, “the benchmark is set.
He remarked that while Infiniti’s engineers and designers employ a particular set of performance parameters to ensure that a vehicle sits well within a broader market, they are talking about the 560-hp Eau Rouge, which amounts to hard-edged performance.
Bartsch said that Vettel’s interpretation will be extremely important for the premium that the Q50 Eau Rouge will command. He disclosed that Vettel's input on the Eau Rouge marks only the start of a move toward building an Infiniti performance sub-brand, similar to Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division.