Today we take you behind the scenes at one of the most eagerly awaited events of every World Series by Renault weekend: the Infiniti Red Bull F1 Show. A major attraction for the fans, the Show provides privileged access to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Renault Sport F1 Marketing Operations Manager Tarik Ait Said and Red Bull Junior Team driver Pierre Gasly revealed some of its secrets to us.
Renault’s presence on the Formula One scene is a central plank of its communication strategy. Over the years, in its capacity as both a team owner and an engine manufacturer, Renault has sought to make the most of the benefits generated by its participation in Formula One.
Tarik, who took his first steps in the F1 world with Total before moving on to Minardi, Arrows and then McLaren, arrived at Renault in late 2003. His brief is to manage marketing and communication strategies relating to Renault’s involvement in F1.
His job also involves forging links between Renault Sport Technologies and Renault Sport F1 through the World Series by Renault. Formula One’s ongoing presence at the meetings is a major draw for both drivers and teams, giving them potential access to the F1, thanks in the main to weekends spent on the inside at Grand Prix meetings and on-the-job training at the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes.
For its part, the Infiniti Red Bull F1 Show gives Renault a chance to glean feedback from spectators. In laying on events at meetings, Tarik and his team have to identify the needs of Renault Sport Technologies. Demo drives, autograph-signing sessions and media interviews provide an opportunity to get up close to the fans, all of which means he has plenty on his plate at every meeting, as he explained: “The F1 Show is the most stressful time of the whole weekend.” The reason for that is the constant risk of a breakdown or something not going to plan.
The presence of the show on the World Series by Renault card is an indication of the impact that F1 has on race-goers. “There are always people in front of the lorry asking to see the drivers, regardless of whether they have a drive in F1 or not,” said Tarik.
The drivers also love the World Series by Renault atmosphere and the proximity they share with the fans. As Tarik explained, the show gives them a chance to meet and greet race-goers without having the pressure of competition hanging over them.
A Red Bull Junior Team member and an Infiniti Red Bull F1 Show driver for the Nürburgring weekend, Pierre Gasly said he is having a lot of fun in the car: “And the more I enjoy myself, the better the show.”
Pointing out how important it is to prepare for the Show, Pierre said: “You can’t just roll up and do whatever you want. With a Formula One car you really have to get the set-up right and check a lot of things when you’re out on the track, like the engine temperature, for example.”
In Pierre’s view, the Infiniti Red Bull F1 Show has a vital role to play on the WSR programme, allowing spectators to see the car up close without having to go to a Grand Prix meeting.
This weekend also marks his return to the World Series by Renault after winning the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title in 2013 and finishing a Formula Renault 3.5 Series runner-up last year. Delighted to be back, Pierre said he was enjoying the opportunity to watch the action from behind the pitwall, experience the mounting tension drivers have to contend with, and to cheer on old friends and catch up with his former adversaries.