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Perez: Sometimes we just have to…. mislead the media
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Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2012   |  10:47 pm GMT  |  329 comments

Sergio Perez has a bit to learn about dealing with the media when he steps up to a top team with McLaren next year.

Today in Suzuka he essentially admitted that he lied in the press conference in Singapore two weeks ago when he was asked very clearly if he had been approached by any top teams.

“Questioner: But have approaches been made?

Perez: No.

Questioner: From major teams, no approaches?

Perez: No.”

A week later he was confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2013, replacing Lewis Hamilton. Sources suggest that the negotiations were already well advanced in Monza.

But today in the FIA press conference in Suzuka, Perez was picked up on this. He responded by saying that he had decided to say “No” in Singapore because it made his life easier that weekend,

“No, there has been some talks before but I didn’t want to give too much information about my opportunities, my options,” he said. “So the question doesn’t come that often because if I say at that time ‘yes’, then I will be full of questions. So it’s better to…

“I wanted to keep it in low profile, focussing always in my team, giving my hundred per cent to my team that I’m very thankfully they give me this opportunity. We have six races with a strong car to go and I want to leave on a very high from this team.”

Of course he is within his rights to be economical with the truth in the middle of a delicate negotiation and of course he was caught on the hop speaking in a second language, but he has been busted here and it’s embarrassing for him. This is Formula 1, a very high profile sport and all public figures have to learn how to deal with a direct question such as the one put to him in Singapore and know how to elegantly swerve it, if necessary.

Perez will have to learn how to deal with that. At McLaren the level of scrutiny will be much higher.

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1

Ever since this article, I’ve become increasingly disgusted with F1 Media. Here’s another headline, and this one is bordering on blatantly misleading, if there’s nothing more than the single quote it’s relying on:

http://www1.skysports.com/formula-1/news/12479/8193065/Lewis-Hamilton-says-Sebastian-Vettel-has-been-lucky-to-drive-a-dominant-car-again

2

It is tortured headlines like these, that force people to lie to the media:

http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/91307.html

3

Good article – for the debate more than the content.

It’s interesting that people are commenting that Sergio was being honest when the article is criticizing him for being the opposite.. I think it’s important to recognise who Sergio lied to. It appears the media folk feel aggrieved that Sergio lied to the public, but the public don’t feel so aggrieved, because many of us accept that he was lying only to the media, and fully understand his reasons for doing so.

The question had three possibile responses: 1. Sergio tells the truth (the worst possible screw up), 2. Sergio lies (not great, but at least he gets some peace to concentrate on his job), 3. Sergio evades the question somehow (and probably just increases speculation). I personally think the question was harsh, and therefore think his response was justified. If you ask nice questions, expect nice answers; if you ask harsh questions don’t expect a nice, or even an honest response.

I don’t particularly like well framed political responses in interviews and press conferences. It makes them bland. I think he should take media schooling from Wiggo.

4

Now there’s a bit of refreshing honesty from Kimi under questioning.. ‘I don’t care what happened to the others’, Sergio, take note.

5

That’s why we like Kimi so much. He keeps out of the politics and doesn’t give a s***for anything other than the racing.

6
Mike from Colombia

So according to 90% of you, a journalist should never have asked Flavio Briatore if he cheated in 2009 because it was obvious that he was not going to be able to answer without prejudicing himself?

Great logic there.

You should remember this for the next time that someone is accused of cheating. Don’t ask the journalists to dig for you. Just wait for the FIA to come out with a press release.

7

“Me, I always tell the truth, even when I lie”.

– Tony Montana. 😉

8

In the black and white world is it wrong to lie, yes it is. In the professional world is it wrong to lie, yes it is. The same way that lying in a court of law is wrong.

However, as we all know life is not black and white. Hence if your Grandma buys you a Christmas present which you don’t really like you tell a lie and you insist that you love the present and its exactly what you want.

Questioning the integrity of a driver because he lied to the media, when the media asked about whether approaches have been made for a possible drive is morally wrong, there is no doubt about that. But is understandable because silly season in F1 is like a school playground full of gossip, which the media play a major role in providing. This is the reason why the majority of people find a Perez’s reply acceptable. If he was lying to the stewards following an incident in a race I would imagine that everyone would be saying Perez was in the wrong and should not have lied (this would be a professional lie).

What is interesting is that the media will question the integrity of Perez’s answers to the media from now on. Following Hamilton lying to the stewards, a far worse crime which was rightly punished. Do the stewards question his integrity everytime he is in front of them? And do the media question the integrity of all of Hamilton answers to the questions they put forward? Or do they not because he lied to the stewards and not the media?

9

Really? Must be a slow news days if we’re busting on Perez for simply denying that any ‘approaches had been made.’

He’s not compelled by anything to tell us any differently. Really.

And what’s even better is to hear from the young driver that he said that to help him remain focused on racing not answering the millions of ensuing questions.

Want to pick apart interviews and answers- one hardly needs to move beyond Hamilton for that. Webber’s a great one for saucy opinions. Button generally sounds like a gracious PR machine. None of these guys tells the whole truth in their interviews, well, except maybe when Hamilton tweeted the telemetry.

But really, Perez? He was smart and spot on. Let the guy race; he’ll have plenty of interview time next season with his new team.

11

For sure, it’s hard for journalists to accept they just report the news, they don’t make F1 happen, y’know.

Frank Williams said back in 2011 there was a good chance Rubens would still be driving for the team in 2012 – let’s call Frank a blue meanie. There’s no logic in this article, sorry.

And how many times did F1 journos put out stories that weren’t exactly true? Or maybe tried to create good PR for one team and pour dirt on the other, whatever the reason. I don’t trust people who scream about their overall goodness, these are the ones to avoid.

Serge, you’re my hero!

12
Michael Frennesson

Welcome to the Piranha Club, James 🙂 As someone said before I regard you as the best F1 journalist but as a reader I see it as your job to find out who is telling the truth and who is not by examine a lot of difference sources. You should always expect people to tell you lies. Why should they tell you the truth? Everybody in F1 is working for themselves and they will only tell you when it the rigt time for them or it supports their thing. But keep digging and learn from this. Maybe I should have told you this a long time before but you should never trust Bernie Ecclestone, Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Christian Horner, Ron Dennis, Martin Whitmarch and a couple of more. It would been interesting if you were active as a journalist at the time when James Hunt ruled the world… Then you could talk about being straightforward and get a lot of stuff to write about 🙂

13

I’m pretty sure the title of this post should be “Wow! This Driver isn’t a Robot!”

I love Perez. Looks after his tyres on track.. looks after himself in the press room and is one of maybe a handful of drivers who actually appears to love what he’s doing.

By all means… Shoot him down.

14
caringforapathy

James,

Without going into the likelihood of confidential negotiations and English as his second language arguments, your main concern seems to be that he flat out said “no” rather than using semantics to “elegantly swerve” around the question. But maybe he did just that and didn’t lie…

Your post’s first quote is “Questioner: But have approaches been made?” and so we don’t know what the question was before this one that required this further clarification. If they were asking him if approaches have been made to HIM, then saying “no” may have been truthful if it was his management that was approached. If it was his management that was approached, then his “no” to the second question still holds true as it didn’t matter what tier of team was approaching his management because they weren’t approaching HIM.

Perhaps he used the context of the question and did indeed answer truthfully? Can someone shed some light on the couple of questions leading up to the ones quoted in this article? Either way, it’s a shame that the excitement for a young driver driving for a top team next has been replaced with the questioning of his integrity.

15

I find it hilarious that the problem here is not that he lied, but that he admitted he lied. If like everyone else involved he just carried on lying about when he knew what it would apparently all be fine and dandy!

16

Oh please! The guy should be applauded for owning up to it, not vilified.

17

Hey, really late to the party but I’d just like to say how good this debate has been so far. James, it’s great to see you getting into a bit of rough and tumble, and all the comments have been a pleasure to read and very insightful, from you and all the others on this blog.

Once more, you’ve demonstrated why this is probably the best F1 site online. Thanks guys!

And on the subject, lying is morally wrong – but at his age I lied through my teeth. Maybe he had to, to protect his contract negotiations. Dodging it would be more elegant, but perhaps it wasn’t possible this time. Hopefully he’ll learn, or the media will. But if you had the most important decision of your career ahead of you, would you lie as well. I guess it’s just to say I don’t agree with what he did … Jenson would have handled it better, but I can completely understand why he did it.

18

Poor James gets a lot of flaks from fans…it is the first time I’ve seen James being the co-focus of a discussion/argument – the other focus being Checo.

Relax folks…apart from giving Checo a break please also gives James a break – he deserves one for being honest. Everyone is entitled to her/his opinion, and sometimes it may be a wrong one from other’s perspective. But it is his opinion nevertheless, and on other occasions it is other people’s opinion that is not in line to yet other people. That’s life, my friends.

So take it easy, reserve your energy to the rest of the season and see who will be the champ!! I would say Alonso will be a Ferrari champ!!

Oh…don’t forget to skip the post-race interview ;o)

Alan

19

Not to muddy the water but I think lying to keep confidential negotiations well, confidential, and lying to mask a wrong you have done just as an example (like Hamilton did previously under Meccas guidance) are very different. The very fact that Perez said himself that he did lie and why he did it makes me think that he can be trustworthy. In this instance, I have no problem with what Perez did. Seems like this will always be a gray area.

20

Awesome move by Sergio!

Why shouldn’t he be allowed to say no? If it makes his life easier and is better for his team then fair enough.

Everyone else managed to write their will he / won’t he stories didn’t they?

No harm done.

There’s a difference between this decision and lying about something important IMO but don’t ask me to define the line!

21

I believe this is a matter of professional courtesy. Although he had a valid reason to conceal the talks (as he explained), it came at the expense of alienating those who are paid to report on and promote the sport via their skills as journalists.

Sergio might now face a media that doesn’t trust his responses, and will report accordingly. There were other ways, as James alluded too, to conceal the talks without giving false statements.

22

Drivers and teams = interested in negotiating discretely. Journalists = interesting in knowing about these negotiations. Things are bound to happen. No one is a villain, no one is a hero. It’s just a group of people pursuing opposite interests. The lie could be “understandable”, but that doesn’t make it ok. The situation is so common that I don’t even know if Sergio knew he was doing anything out of the ordinary and accepted(notice I didn’t say he wasn’t doing anything wrong). These situations are not going to stop and everyone will have their own opinion about them.

James, in your case, if you are a journalist that praises truth and backs up stories properly (which I think you are), keep it up. That is what sets you apart. If everyone was like this, there would be no need to avoid speculation from the part of the drivers and teams.

23

I think Peres will become a politically correct lier soon (like most drivers), and I sincerely hope he drives the McLaren up to par, which will be the best way to keep the press happy, but this article just made him more popular with fans, maybe he owes you a big thanks for it

24

Spot on. PR training is really just learning how to lie better.It seems his ‘mistake’ has been to admit his lie. He’ll soon learn that it’s best never to do this. Perhaps Alonso can advise him of this.

Your other point about the article increasing his popularity also rings true. I certainly like him a lot more than I did yesterday. The comparisons with Kimi seem pertinent. It’s a shame that McLaren will try and smother his personality.

25

Maybe Checo had entered into some kind of Confidentiality Agreement with McLaren during the negotiations and therefore he could not admit publicly even that negotiations were under way.

To be honest, I can’t see any harm in a driver denying that he’s about to sign for certain team. It’s not relevant, say like i.e. a Team Manager or a Driver lying yo Race Stewards about an incident during the race and involving other driver.

26

James please consider me in the 10% I don’t believe it’s acceptable to tell an outright lie. I understand Sergios reasoning but the simple answer of – “Im not prepared to discuss this subject Im concentrating my efforts on Sauber ” .At the end of the day in such a high profile sport ,reporters will be a bit more weary about approaching him on such matters and in such a commercially driven world that could be slightly detrimental to either him or a team in the short term.

I too find it ridiculous how so many fans sweat on every quote or post to get to the fact and then when something like this happens its like … ” ok I don’t blame him blah blah..Yet when someone here expresses an opinion based on numerous observations .. Fans say ” how do You KNOW or where’s the evidence” or even worse. Very hypocritical and lacking judgement! Yet I suggested Perez did have discussions in your post Monza post.

I do find it very sad that we are accepting this kind of attitude in all walks of life- I don’t tolerate it & this is part of reason why I admire people like Kimi Raikkonen who call it like it is or refuse to answer. If your other readers ask you for facts in future tell them they have to form their own opinions as you can’t be sure what’s truth or lies.

27

James, how many journos publish rumors and lies about the drivers and teams daily!!

I think you are being a little harsh!

28

I’m not really interested in them.

Sometimes a journo will get something wrong, that’s one thing.

To deliberately write something you know to be untrue is quite another.

If I did that I wouldn’t expect a reader to give my work much credibility.

So what are fans and journos supposed to do if someone has a track record of saying things they know to be untrue? That’s all I’m asking. I’m not singling out Perez, particularly I wish him well, but more highlighting an interesting episode that many people haven’t really thought about.

29

Hello James,

As a Mexican F1 fan for 25 years, and following your articles since itv-f1.com what I was expecting to read on your site was your take on Perez move to McLaren…

Any post comming up on that subject?

PD Keep up the good work, love your site!

Mendez

Cheers!

30

James, I think there’s a difference here. Your job, as a journalist, is to report what is happening. In order to do that, you need to tell the truth, in order to be credible – as you say.

A driver’s number one priority is to do the best he can. He has a duty not to compromise his race weekend. Perez clearly felt it would be a distraction to his race weekend, and possibly to the detriment of his performance, if he was fielding questions about this matter. Therefore, I think it was OK in this situation for him to do what he did, because it meant he could fully concentrate on his race weekend.

So you as a journalist have different priorities to a driver, and on this occasion, they clashed. I’m not saying it’s always OK to lie, but on this occasion, I think it was in his interests to do so.

31

JA,

If someone has a track record of lying, then maybe you should state that in your articles when you’re quoting them ?

Maybe a bracketed comment like “Care : This person is a habitual liar” ?

32

I assume fans and journalists will continue to do what they have always done, which is decide for themselves. It seems that you take issue with the directness of the lie and then the boldness of admission at the press conference. Perez is neither the first nor the last F1 participant to mislead or indeed lie to the fans and media. That in no way represents an acceptance of his actions on my part. Contrary to your assertion, you do appear to single out Perez because he is the only subject of the article. Further, I submit that people do value honesty and the truth and give them much thought. As I said before, though, if the media knew the story was out there then the media should have worked harder to get it.

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