Monday mutterings…Renault and sport in a PR fix

It must be an interesting time to be in Sports PR. First we had bloodgate

Rugby's reputaton gets a bloody nose
Rugby's reputation gets a bloody nose

with Dean Richards et al, as rugby players, (the perennial darlings of “gentlemanly conduct”) were found guilty shock/horror of cheating. My word, what next? We’ll soon be hearing of the little saints feigning injury (sorry, already had that), illegal tackles (ditto) and becoming obsessed with their own celebrity (oh, been there too).

Gavin Henson the celebrity
Gavin Henson the celebrity

Sport is increasingly high profile. The proliferation of media outlets dedicated to sport magnifies each twist and turn, tactic and tantrum in High Def glorious detail.

Now the money men of F1 have been caught messing with the mechanics of the sport (so to speak!). The future of the team will be decided by the sport’s governing body at a hearing today in Paris. The team has been accused of ordering Brazilian Nelson Piquet  to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help Renault team mate Fernando Alonso win.

Piquet Jr

Renault announced that it would not contest the charges and last week Renault team boss Flavio Briatore  and engineering director Pat Symonds both stepped down. My colleagues in the PR world have been having their say today, urging Renault to move on quickly and Briartore has been vilified by the press.

However, what of Piquet himself? Would this story have even come to light had he not lost his seat at Renault and in F1 for the season? Would he not have accepted his role as a “professional sportsman” quietly and happily continued as a team player if he had not been deemed surplus to requirements at Renault?

Whatever the decision, one might suspect the media and the profile boost it would promise his stalling career would have been a major driving force behind that decision.