Just a day after his dominant victory in the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel arrived equipped with his tailor-made Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB9 race seat and steering wheel for use in ergonomics discussions with Infiniti road car development engineers.
Immediately following last month's Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel spent a day at Circuit Paul Ricard in France evaluating the latest Infiniti road cars and their competitors, accompanied by experts from Infiniti's European Dynamic Performance Team. Today's visit to Farmington Hills builds on that experience by giving him an insight into how the company's North American Technical Center develops Infiniti vehicles specifically for the American markets.
Sebastian Vettel said: "It would be great to meet as many of the Infiniti engineering teams as I can to learn more about what they are doing. Part of my role is helping to shape Infiniti road cars globally, and to do that I need to understand how the team here shapes important performance road car attributes like ergonomics, engine sound and noise isolation."
On his visit to Farmington Hills, Vettel explored several of the facility's advanced technology labs focusing on key areas of vehicle tuning and engineering.
These included the Noise Vibration & Harshness (NVH) Engineering Lab, where Vettel discussed how engineers design and create the optimum engine sound profile for Infiniti's range of performance road cars, and the Audio Systems Lab where the emphasis is on the quality of sound performance from the exemplary Infiniti in-car entertainment systems.
While Infiniti customers expect a sporty engine sound, making sure their cars are free from unwanted NVH is also a prime consideration for Infiniti engineers at Farmington Hills.
Vettel experienced first-hand a purpose-designed 4-post shaker test rig used to study different ride conditions, so engineers can ensure unwanted or unpleasant noises are filtered out and eliminated at prototype stage.
Vettel's race seat and steering wheel were the focus of attention with the Center's "Human Engineering" team as he outlined his expectations for driver ergonomics including cockpit layout and seating comfort.
"In my Formula One car, my seat is designed around me so I am supported and sit comfortably, and the design of the wheel means I can easily reach all of the important switches and instruments," Vettel said. "It is exactly the same for an Infiniti road car, so I wanted to discuss driver positioning and comfort to make sure the priorities are safe control and driving enjoyment."
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 the all-new Infiniti Q50.
"We were delighted to show Sebastian some of the development work our engineers are doing to meet the demanding targets we have for future Infiniti models in the Americas region," said Mark Snyder, Director of Engineering Strategy, Planning and Administration for Nissan Technical Center North America. "His perspective is very helpful as our goal is to ensure that every element of an Infiniti vehicle performs beyond the expectations of our customers. Sebastian shared his unique insights into performance at a level that could only come from one of the most highly conditioned athletes in the world."