Inspec Ethylene Oxide Specialties, better known as Ineos, is the company that was created to acquire and exploit the chemicals division of the British BP in 1995. But beyond that, and first being known as sponsor and then how owner of 33% of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, since 2017 it also has an automotive industry division called Ineos Automotive, which was created with the specific objective of developing the 4×4 vehicle that will inherit to the traditional Land Rover Defender, discontinued in 2015.
They named it Ineos Grenadier and after being introduced last year, they promised start manufacturing by 2022, and the deadlines have been met to the letter. At first, The Grenadier was designed with two engines, a turbo petrol engine and a diesel engine, both of BMW origin. and both in 6-cylinder in-line architecture. But the later Ineos partnership with Hyundai to develop production and infrastructure for hydrogen supply, allowed now a third Grenadier option has been added, which will be driven by hydrogen fuel cell, although in a second stage.
It is common for Formula 1 teams that belong to an automobile factory, such as Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Alfa Romeo or Aston Martin, use your racing stars as an image to promote your most outstanding series products. This is how we have seen Kimi raikkonen manning the most exclusive Alfa models, or at the time to Sebastian vettel at the command of a new Ferrari model, when he was a pilot for the Scudería.
A few months ago, Lewis hamilton He also went to a track to test drive the new Hypercar from Mercedes, the AMG One, and now it is the turn of Valtteri Bottas, although his test seems more oriented to his Scandinavian origins than to his role as a singlepost racing driver. The dexterity that Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish drivers have in rally, and this is directly related to living or growing up driving on icy or snowy floors, and that allowed them to develop a skill about low grip terrain as few have the possibility of acquiring.
Bottas has run a few rally races as of late, but he’s essentially a Formula 1 driver, as they were. Keke Rosberg, Mikka Hakkinen or Kimi Raikkonen, all of them world champions in the 80s, 90s or 2000s. However, Ineos wanted to use his image to promote the new 4×4 which is months away from starting to be sold throughout Europe, before Valtteri leaves the Mercedes team, since from 2022 it will be a pilot Alfa Romeo instead of Raikkonen.
The test is clearly promotional and not technical, so Ineos made a video of a couple of minutes with images of the Grenadier piloted by Bottas on roads with mud, stones and some water beds, in which it can be verified that it is indeed an off road vehicle, although, to be honest, If the idea is to replace or inherit the 4×4 genes of a Land Rover Defender, they have not given it half the difficulty that that iconic vehicle could easily overcome.
Let us remember that Land Rover Defender they also became famous with those voyages called Camel trophy, which were carried out between 1980 and 1998, and that for 30 days, they tested the toughness of these vehicles in places where the word “road” had no meaning whatsoever.
Maybe the Bottas’s obligations to Mercedes were not large enough to expose him to such dangers, or the fact that be running the Formula 1 championship, has required more care. However, the Finn has said that the car is versatile and robust enough to face the harshness of the roads and the climate of his country.