F1 Winter Break
Perez: Sometimes we just have to…. mislead the media
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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Not one person told the truth in this, yet he's honest and HE has to learn? Sad.


He's young, and I suppose he will learn to be a bit more "politically correct" in the future. There are many ways to dodge the truth in more subtile ways. It's part of the game.


Agree 100%, press conferences are becoming increasingly duller with robotic drivers and cliche, non committal answers. Good on you Sergio.


Perhaps the media should not ask them questions they bloody well know they cannot answer!


I think the key is that he should have 'elegantly swerved' (love that phrase!) the question. There's a bunch of ways of misleading the media without actually lying. I can think of several ways he could have answered that without lying but without giving anything away either.


There's absolutely no problem in the media asking that question. Just like there absolutely no problem with a driver saying I have no comments on the subject.


no offence to you personally James, but although it may not be fun for you media guys, those questions are only going to attract dull banal answers from the drivers.

Has there ever been a driver in history, when asked, said "you know what, Ill tell you everything"

Surely the media must understand drivers contracts better than us, so why ask questions which can only illicit one answer?


I completely agree Wayne.

If the media ask questions they have no right to know the answer to, why on earth should the drivers be expected to answer them truthfully. Especially sensitive questions about employment negotiations.

It's a two way street, maybe if the media stopped trying to be such a bunch of gossipers, and stopped trying to trip drivers up, they might find the drivers will be more willing to speak.


Take your point, but it's a genuine question!


Where's the fun in that?


Hey, that's MY name (lol). There's

two of us on here. Are you new to

this blog?



At McLaren he will probably have a coach just for dealing with the press.


Does anyone in any team tell the truth.....


If they did that would be the first...Nnnnnever!


A fair point. I can only suggest he doesn't follow in Hamilton's footsteps in regard to PR.

Also let's be mindful that talks with McLaren would be his 'big shot'. I wouldn't want to mess that up, either.


I actually thought LH answered the questions well and was very gracious about Mclaren (not once did he blame McLaren for playing games etc). He just thanked the team, spoke fondly of Whitmarsh and managed to sidestep questions regarding him and Ron.


I think the press should just get over it and not moralise on whether people lie or not. Drivers should be free to say whatever they like as long as they can they deal with the questions about what they said. I think Perez did a sensible thing to not get distracted and then has explained why he did it. Good for him.


Exactly this.

Journos are free to ask inane banal questions (and do (a lot!)), drivers are equally free to give whatever answers suit them.

I don't think Perez has "to learn how to deal with [the media]". I think he dealt with this issue very intelligently.

Nor do I think it's embarrassing for him.


What's the big deal? He did the right thing. I doubt if McLaren would've been pleased if he leaked this before their official press announcement.


I agree. He kept his cards close to his chest during the most important phase of his career.

Shankar Arumugham

questions (and do (a lot!)),

You have to be a programmer!


A common lisp programmer!


It's bad for the driver to mislead the media, but it is fine for the media to mislead the public...

Whilst Hamilton did eventually move to Mercedes, before the announcement was made how many F1 journalists/sites/magazines told us all that it was [all but] certain, but it was based on whisperings around the paddock, i.e. not a single person was certain enough to come forward and admit it putting their name down so the media is left to speculate on a rumour mill. This time it was correct. However looking back to all those articles, based on rumours, about Mercedes pulling out due to the Gribkwosky trial, but this time it never happened - a really obvious case of the media misleading the public to create a story.

James, just to say this is not an attack at you, quite the opposite, I value your work highly because you nearly always base your articles on great facts and interviews/quotes. My main gripe is with the more mainstream magazine/websites who are fighting for readers.

What Perez did is definitely lying, lying is morally wrong. However, is it any worse than persistent deflection by others to the point of misleading. Often contractual negotiations have a silence clause in them, which might have been put in place.


I like your thinking! I have been following the silly season closely for the first time (I support Sergio). It started being fun, but later on it just became obvious that most of what was out there was not based on any truth at all. All available drivers were placed in every available seat pretty much.


I disagree about which question he should have "swerved". He lied in Singapore and.. what? He protected himself from further interrogation, as he has seen Hamilton be under (through no fault of his own) for weeks on end. He thereby also protected his team from any closer questioning. He even kept McLaren from having to answer too many questions about him specifically. So he literally did everything in his power to keep everyone involved from too close scrutiny.

So who got "hurt" or embarrassed by this lie? Only those members of the press who take this a bit too personal, perhaps because they took the "naive" Perez on his word.

The question Perez should have tried to talk his way around, is the one put to him in Japan. And even that I can't really fault him for not doing because, in the event, to me he comes off looking like he didn't really like to have felt like he had to lie in Singapore to protect the interests of those who actually mattered in this deal.


Absolutely spot on!


I agree. He has to learn. Lie is not an option for a (from now on) High Profile figure and sport's embassador of a country.


It was pretty clearly a good enough option for everyone else involved who has a much higher profile than him up till now (Ron Dennis, Martin Whitmarsh, Ross Brawn, Lewis Hamilton, to name a few).


So why is this a problem?

Considering the number of people, in much more important positions, who lie on a daily basis, why should a sports figure be held to any higher standard and why should we care?

All the "elegant swerve" seems to do is give the hacks and Eddie Jordan something to talk about. The lie threw everyone off the trail and did make Sergio's life easier.

Point to Sergio.


Wouldn't it be fun if a driver decided to always lie? I mean every thing he would say would be an absolute rediculous lie. The media would always have to assume opposite was true, and in every report they'd have to say, "Kimi is known for always telling lies."

How fun would that be to watch? You would never miss an interview. Then imagine all the inside jokes in commercials.

Time for someone to be the F1 liar!




Would the press have preferred, "No Comment".

How about "I am not interested in answering any questions that do not relate directly to my current role with the Sauber F1 Team."

Maybe - "I will not comment on speculation or inquiries regarding contractual negotiations for next season".

Honestly what is he supposed to do? He may have been under an NDA.


It's a good question.

I can understand James Allen (from a media reporting perspective) taking the line he does above, but from a man-on-the-street perspective, I don't much care who lies and who doesn't when it comes to talking to the media. They're a bunch of sharks who go into a frenzy at the mere hint of blood.

While I'm eager to hear the comings and goings of people, speculation is not productive - as such I'd much rather hear about a deal when it's been done, than when it's a vague possibility.

IMHO, Sergio did the right thing as a junior driver in a situation that was frankly bigger than him. As a result he diverted attention away from him and allowed private conclusion of a critical deal in his career. Good on him! That the press didn't sniff it out a week before is of no material consequence.


Wasn't the surprise worth a little lie?


I suppose he could have said: "There's always rumours at this time of year, I don't have anything to announce right now".

Is that much better than "No"?


He said pretty much exactly that on multiple occasions in the weeks preceding the announcement and apparently that did not sate the journos' thirst. So he got annoyed and gave them the straight answer they wanted.

Sure it wasn't true but if the journalists did not respect his subtle "wait-and-see" PR-doublespeak in the preceding weeks (while - Perez has revealed - negotiations were ongoing) they have no-one but themselves to blame. They kept pushing for an answer they knew he couldn't give so it was them, not Sergio, who broke the unwritten rules of PR-mumbo jumbo.

And also: "We have no Plan B" while again, the talks have been going on for weeks: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/103041 . So apparently Whitmarsh also does not meet the standards of honesty that Sergio is expected to live up to.


Just refreshingly honest. Thanks Sergio!!


Ok you can't say the guy is honest when he lied. However, his is still a refreshingly differenct approach that puts the journos exactly where they belong i.e. without enough information to sensationalise drama out of nothing.


+1, absolutely agree!


If I were in his position I'd do the same thing.

The talk should be about the racing rather than where he's lining up next year (before any deal has been done).


I think he dealt with it very well. A simple "no" and everyone leaves him alone to get on with racing. I wish him well.


Raikkonen's normally inscrutable face looked a picture when Perez was answering "No". Just a little hint of a smile, was enough to suggest something was up with Perez and McLaren. That's what it seemed like.

Tornillo Amarillo

Alonso in Ferrari, Perez in McLaren, Maldonado in Williams, maybe Gonzalez in the near future... Spanish speakers rule!


So that's 4 Spanish speakers (rule?)while

more than 15,000 people looking for work queued to apply for just 150 vacancies at the factory of agricultural machinery company John Deere on the outskirts of Madrid this week.

Don't break out the champers just yet.



Dear Tim,

Your comment about unemployment in Spain is not funny at all.

It's amazing that Mr. Allen approved it to be published here in first place.

Please remain focused on speaking about motosport, thanks.




To Puffing,

You say "No. I believe TA wanted to...", here's

the point - We only have what was written. None of us are mind readers. But you have a penchant for claiming to KNOW what others think. The written evidence is what carries the day, not what you WANT to believe. Not even what you SAY you WANT to believe. I stand by each word I wrote. I'm more than confident in my own words and I've the integrity and courage of my convictions.

I'm confident that the written record, by all, is sufficient.

I'll not check for any more comments on this issue. To misquote Shakespeare,"Methinks thou dost protest too much."

Regards and good luck,


To James Allen,

I appreciate your forbearance in this and shall

let this rest. Indeed, I had but.. didn't want to be rude to puffing and ignore him/her.

And now..my Driver of the Day is...


@ Tim

No. I believe TA wanted to drum just a word of joy in these times of trouble and sadness for many of us, and then you reacted like a bull in a china shop. But this is my opinion. TA is there to answer you if he/she likes to do that.





Dear Tim,

After beinga Spaniard for the last 46 years I can say yes, I've read something about Phillipines being a colony of Spain for several years until 1898.

Still not able to catch the link between unemployed persons in Madrid and a Mexican driver signing for McLaren.

Yours truly,

José A.


OK this is getting boring now


Dear Galapagos555,

He did not say Spanish speaking drivers. He said

Spanish SPEAKERS (Capitalization is mine to explain to you, politely, the difference)rule!(exclamation point is his). I do not want to get pedantic/split hairs but, there it is. The people in line waiting for a job flew in the face of his statement. If you will re-read, I'm assuming that you've read my second post, if not please do so, I stated that I was more concerned about people without jobs and he was coming across as if he wasn't and wanted to beat a drum of superiority. All based on drivers but expanding it to read SPEAKERS. Maybe people should not use accomplishments in sport etc (which are relatively meaningless, in the grand scheme of things) to state their superiority. The average person, in a society with high unemployment, without a job, is someone I'm more interested/concerned with (there I go, using that word CONCERNED, for the third time).

Yes, I do know that Perez and Maldonado are not from Spain (I know where, but I won't tell you). Indeed, the Spanish language is spoken in many countries. Did you know that the Republic of the Philippines was a colony of Spain for hundreds of years? And that one of the many languages that they speak is heavily influenced by Spanish?

Kind regards,




Dear Tim,

I really can’t see the link between the 15,000 ppl queueing in Madrid and the fact that some Spanish speaking drivers are “ruling” as Tornillo wrote. Could you please elaborate? Maybe drivers from countries with hi rates of unemployment should not be admitted to racing?

Btw, did you know that Checo and Pastor are not from Spain, I mean, are you aware that Spanish language is spoken in some other countries and not only in Spain?

Kind regards,

José A.


To Galapago555 & puffing:

I was not the one who injected race into the discussion. I was extremely offended at the comment "...Spanish speakers rule!" Those words were racially offensive to myself as well as others.

To G555: I believe you WANT to believe that I had the worst of intentions. That's a shame. I'm sorry you feel that way.

I MOST SINCERELY hope that the two of you will share my contempt for anyone who states that one group of people "rule", based SOLELY on the language they speak.

Regards, G555 & puffing,



Dear Tim,

I fully agree with Dino. Believe or not, your comment sounded derogative. If that was not what you meant, please mind your words. They were racially offensive to my ears and others, may I add.





Dear Tim,

You actually insulted people with your disrespecful comment about Spanish unemployed persons queueing in Madrid. Maybe you didn't mean it (I sincerely believe you did) but your comment was clearly insulting for at least 15,000 ppl.

Kind regards,

José A.


Yup, many times it's quite difficult to understand the mod standards...


Dear Dino,

1. It was not meant to be funny. Insulting people is not my thing.

2. On the other hand, I didn't find the comment,"Spanish speakers rule!", particularly humorous, to put it mildly.

3. I am more concerned about those people with-

out work rather than F1 and I think he should be also, rather than an attempt at bigging up one nationality over another. That was my point.

In the future, before you misunderstand the meaning of my post, please ask, rather than resorting to a misguided and ill conceived attempt at lecturing.




That's a very fair statement from you, Tim.

I really can't see the link between the 15,000 ppl queueing in Madrid and the fact that some Spanish drivers are "ruling" as Tornillo wrote. Could you please elaborate? Maybe you don't feel comfortable with so many Spanish speakers around? Would you suggest that they are forbidden in Formula 1? Maybe drivers from countries with hi rates of unemployment should not be admitted to racing?

Btw, did you know that Checo and Pastor are not from Spain, I mean, are you aware that Spanish language is spoken in some countries besides in Spain?


"...the fact that some Spanish SPEAKING drivers..."

"...suggest that they SHOULD BE forbidden..."

Sorry for the mistakes, typing from a mobile phone while at Commuter Train can prove difficult. 🙂


Rodolfo? Not a chance, but Esteban Gutierrez though has been linked to take Perez place at Sauber.


Agree James, modern F1 drivers need to basically be politicians when it comes to the media.

But I would not blame this so much on Sergio. It is the responsibility of his team and managers to train him to answer these questions appropriately. It should not have been a surprise that he got asked this question and he should have been briefed as to how to answer it


is it really that embarrassing or bad of him to do so? imagine he confirmed talks were taking place and then hamilton stayed at mclaren. he'd of looked more foolish. can understand it from his viewpoint.

anyway seems a decent driver and will be interesting to see how he does against button. think it will be very close

Mike from Colombia

So journalists should not ask inconvenient questions?

It baffles me to see these types of complaints from readers who come to this forum to get inside information from the paddock and a behind the scenes view of the most prominent issues in F1.

I suggest that you all sign up to receive official press releases from Associated Press or Reuters....plenty of fun for you all.

I have to say that many here are extremely ungrateful. Quality reporting requires trying to get underneath of the official channels.


Fine, if the fans are fully accepting then that sets a marker for the future. We can all remember this.

Very interesting response from the fans here - I've learned what I wanted from this piece


I can see both sides of this debate, but I can't help wandering,"would we have had the same reaction if we were talking about Lewis Hamilton"?

Bottom Line, Journalists have to ask the question and Drivers need to consider their answers!


It's perhaps ok (now) because it's been confessed at (more or less) first opportunity. It also helps that it wasn't a lie to deny culpability for something, it wasn't at anyone else's expense.

Doubtless he will be helped by his new employers to be properly honest when unhelpful questions call for evasiveness in the future.

But for now it's done with, and we can let it go.


"Very interesting response from the fans here – I’ve learned what I wanted from this piece"

I wasn't going to comment on this, but now I feel I must.

It's not OK to lie - and that goes for Martin "no plan B" Whitmarsh as well.

I find it difficult to listen to certain team principals being interviewed, as it's almost impossible to believe what they are saying much of the time.

F1 would benefit greatly from a little more openness - and a little more respect for the fans.


He probably should have said something like "I have options for next year, but I am here only to discuss and race the Singapore Grand Prix. There will be a time and a place to discuss my future". But, he is only 22 years old and as others have said, he didn't want to mess things up with McLaren. I have no problem with his response. He probably is embarrassed now, but he will learn.

6 Wheeled Tyrrell

James, you fail to mention that Martin whitmarsh answered "we have no plan B" hen asked a similar question. I dont consider MW's answer any more political or non comital that Perez' and I dont see you quiestioning his honesty or PR savy.

The simple reslity is that press conferences in F1 are rarely about the truth and that is a sad state of affairs, but it all stems precisely from the PR briggade that has to filter, script and mold the driver's answers untill they all sound like the same person.

Telling the truth at that point was not apropriate at since the whole negociation was still in flux, any other answer would have placed him, Sauber, Mclaren and Hamilton in a position to have to answer more questions from you guys rather that focus on the racing and sigining of the contracts.


This is an interesting debate James.

However, what I don't understand on your post is why you take Withmarsh (a team principal of one of the leading teams) words saying “we don’t have any plan B” for good, while Pérez, saying essentially the same thing, is misleading the press and has a lot to learn. Can you please explain where the difference is, if any?

I really think there is a double standard here for English and non-English speakers when dealing with the British press, there has been similar cases in the past, I might be wrong, but that is my feeling.


I'm not sure what the context was for Whitmarsh saying there's no Plan B. It was one of those quotes that got cut and pasted- it wasn't in a recorded FIA press conference.

It wasn't a great thing to say because it did not make him or the team look great in the eyes of sponsors, for example. What CEO of a major company doesn't have a Plan B in place for the potential loss of a key person?

I learned on Sunday night that talks with Perez had advanced, but as MW said, Di Resta was an alternative. Not sure when they finally decided the Perez Plan B, but it doesn't look like it was "in place" when MW said that in Monza. Maybe I'm wrong


Agree with you James....if he starts out lying where does he go from there? Credibility and integrity are still important.


I think people's reaction stem from the growth in PR as a profession and people's frustration with overcontrolled and over scripted communication from teams and drivers. I understand the need to tightly manage comms in a world of demanding (but vital) corporate sponsors, but fans want to feel the emotion behind the sport we love. It's why Twitter is able to pick up on a latent demand for direct connections with drivers. This is particularly true in the case of perez's move when you examine how much the early coverage relied solely on mclaren and Mercedes' carefully drafted press releases which were dry to the point of boredom.

I think this thread is therefore not only telling for excellent journos like James, but also for the comms people in the teams themselves.

Thanks as ever for the blog - always a great read.


Yes, I haven't checked the comments section that closely, but I doubt that there were many revelations from fans pointing out the discrepancy between his comments in the previous interview and what has obviously happened.

I'm pretty sure that LH also said he wasn't talking to Mercedes or hadn't been approached a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if there are subtle differences in the way in which he handled those questions. It is a good point that Perez will be expected to be more media savvy at Mclaren.

I think that this piece highlights the difference between the perception of the media/paddock and those of us outside (albeit getting our information from the media). I remember that the team orders debate after Germany 2010 also showed that difference.

Personally, I understand why Perez acted in this way, and I respect him for it. It is his right to protect his position in this way. I am getting a little sick of the careful platitudes that more media savvy drivers trot out.


Interesting response from James Allen regarding this 'issue' and a point well taken. It does appear many F-1 fans are not concerned with truth, and where drivers are actually going in their future. Many 'fans' are more interested in making disparaging remarks about their favorite targets in the sport. Now that's entertainment.

Take a break James and don't work so hard. Just give the masses the opportunity to slag on about Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso.


Well said.

Keep fighting your corner James. Because in the game of life it truly is (...how you play the game.)



"Of course he is within his rights to be economical with the truth in the middle of a delicate negotiation".

I think that most F1 fans and your very many loyal fans are saying that we would fully approve if you had put a full stop after negotiation.

We all come here for the accurate information and technical news that we love and have come to expect. Prattling gossip and non tech. speculation we can get -- if we want it -- from the many other low grade sites.

Your fans have made a clear statement here that is much better than a poll. So here is a pure mischief "Perez" question for you. It is said with a big grin / smile and NO sarcasm.

Have you really learned ?


+1 🙂


James, is there a different view within the F1 bubble?

Nothing the fans have expressed here surprises me. In fact, we all seem to speak as one.


Its not that the fans are accepting James or that is is right thing to do - but what choice do we have?

The Media almost always 'change' a story - you know this James - whether it be: take one line and make the whole story about it, or pick on someone till they crack.

It's actually the medias fault that drivers - or anyone for that matter - responses to interviews in this manner - the media seem to always have a motive when they write an article...you seem to be indicating this in your comment.


"Very interesting response from the fans here – I’ve learned what I wanted from this piece"

mmm does that mean that you had a pre meditated objective to morally judge us based on our responses to this article? i think that is the first time as a fan i haven't bought in to what i have understood from your writting


The enthusiasts posting on your site understand that a young driver like Sergio is not a politician, nor is he experienced enough to handle questions from a baying pack of Journos, most of whom are much more cunning, wily and older than their quarry.

It's part of their charm. ( I mean of the drivers, not the Journos !)

When presented with the media scramble around the silly season, who knows how any of us would react ?

Younger drivers face an unequal struggle and we are prepared to cut them some slack.

I've brought up two sons, both now in their mid 20s and I'm sure it's asking too much for a very young driver working in a second language to come out with political replies like “I am not interested in answering any questions that do not relate directly to my current role with the Sauber F1 Team.”

or, maybe – “I will not comment on speculation or inquiries regarding contractual negotiations for next season”

Sergio will learn to handle the press better as he goes on but at Sauber he hasn't had the level of attention he will now be getting at McLaren. But then an outfit like McLaren will be much better equipped than the smaller teams to train their drivers in how to deal with the media.

Unfortunately the side effect is to sanitize the whole process - like those dreadful driver "interviews" the teams put out "conducted by the xyz press office"

It's also why drivers like Kimi, who don't really care about all that stuff, carry so much support.


Yes, I think people appreciate he has to look after himself and think of the interests of his current team. Sometimes it grates as much on fans as on drivers when the media constantly pester on this kind of subject. I think people also appreciate it's a sign if being his own man and he hasn't been briefed by his PR people what to say.

Maybe Hulkenberg should take award out if his book!


What do you mean by that James? Is he meant to give some doublespeak PR hint by swerving the question with a stock answer about 'concentrating on the weekend with Sauber blah blah'? Is that how the game works?

The fans are not part of the circus and appreciate honesty. That's why Raikkonen - the least PR-friendly driver of the modern era - was the most popular F1 driver in the last poll I saw. What you see is what you get. On a basic human level people respect that.


C'mon JA... It is a well known fact that drivers and teams lie to the media constantly in F1. To slight Sergio because he was honest about after the fact seems a little petty to me.

To say this view point means we think it is ok to lie, I dont necessarily agree with. Its just that we know we are going to get lied to, and we can see his reasoning. It was not his place to stir that pot at the time. Dont read too much into this.


This cannot be interpreted as a lie, not by any sense of the imagination. when your girlfriend/wife asks you 'does my bum look big in this?' Under you're logic you're saying sometimes you will have to answer 'yes' if you don't wish to go to hell. Come on this is rubbish, sometimes you have to say things for the benefit of other people, whether they are true or not doesnt really matter


+1 to Patrick


@ James. I think we accept it's OK to lie under certain circumstances. I think lieing to protect yourself and your team from a weekend of pointless, banal and potentially distracting questions would be one of them.


No, James. You can't take one sentence out of Patrick's post & use it out of context.

What about the bit about Raikkonen being popular because he's not a media-puppy? He answers questions, but not in the way that the media like i.e. won't be put on the spot by the press.

Brilliant! Although KM has been known to tell a porkie when pushed too far.

I feel that most fans support a driver not telling the truth, not because of the lying per se, as you are indicating, but because of the impertinent, intrusive questions that are asked of them.


I think we're all saying that it's ok to lie in these circumstances. Other situations require the truth, e.g. Hamilton lying to stewards - not ok. This was a deflection of sensitive, business information where no rule was being broken. This has gone on forever in F1!


"The fans are not part of the circus and appreciate honesty."

Yet almost all of the respondents here accept that it's ok to lie. Interesting logic

Paul du Maître

Hi James,

I think we all agree it is unfortunate, but I don't think you can blame sportsmen. Politicians lie all the time, and get away with it more often than not (someone remembers the "weapons of mass destruction in Irak", for instance?). It's sad, but it's tolerated in our society nowadays. Plus, Perez's lie wasn't about a racing incident, or anything remotely important. You can't ask a sportsman more honesty than an elected politician, can you?


...which begs the question, what were you hoping to learn?


Hi James,

I get that you were trying to find out about attitudes- sorry, my question sounded a bit flippant.

I think what I meant was...

At the time of me asking what you were trying to find out, the majority of the reponses here were in defence of Perez. Some were along the lines of who cares, some alluded to the language barrier, some said it was refreshing honesty in his follow up interview. What this suggested to me at the time was that most fans saw through the trained, pre-planned responses most drivers and other spokesmen for the team give. It's the same in most sports, just watch any football post match interview and you get basically nothing- a few cliches interspersed with some repetitive statements.

That most people saw through it didn't really surprise me...I assumed most people had a similar view on it to me- that the PR scripted responses and interviews which reveal as little as possible while leaving the interviewee looking like a monotonous drone was part of a game. But we all know it's a game...we wish it wasn't the tway it was played, but we accept it- knowing it's a game.

But back to the point, I think what I was wondering was...James, did you REALLY think fans wanted to be spoonfed the BS that normally comes out to avoid saying anything, and consequently did you really think Perez telling an essentially inconsequential white lie was going to outrage people? I respect you hugely as a journalist, which is why I've read this website for a while now. Which makes it doubly surprising that there's this much of a disconnect between what journalists think us readers think, and what we actually think- if there is one, in this case.


I don't mind being a guinea pig, if it makes it clear that some questions should be asked in a less intrusive way.

Perhaps a F1 Leveson Enquiry?


Great idea, will you chair it?

michael grievson

I think its more telling that drivers feel they can't say what they want because of restrictions from the teams and sponsors.

Jonathan De Andrade

Thanks for your honest acknolwdgement James.

I am also not bothered at all for Sergio 'protecting' his and others' peace of mind until the moment things were agreed for public disclosure.

We all miss knowing the true personality of drivers instead of this whole bunch of equal speeches made by people that only look and drive differently. I felt Sergio very original on his answer. Nevertheless I agree with you to some extent as I admire the ability of some people that are masters of communicating and can easily play with words and answers. That's for sure not Sergio. If he does learn that and I think we will loose.


Negotiations are meant to be secret, so why Sergio was suppose to answer the "Thruth", nature of negotiations are complex and any spilled information cpuld hur the proccess. How many times a reporter has changed the meaning of an answer? Bad will be if a driver take drugs or alcohol before a race, but to hide something so sensitive?, pls...


I think the point fans are making is if the press ask a leading question that if answered completely could derail their career / future contracts they understand a small untruth.

If I asked you if you have been having any chats about possible work at the BBC, ITV, The Times etc then you might say no even if you have had informal talks as any speculation could kill the deal before it starts.

Answering with the invasive answer is taken as "Yes I am" and will start speculation. Hand on heart can you say if he said he had no news to announce right now you would not report and speculate his potential Mclaren deal and how that means Lewis is leaving?

I personally work in computer games and we get a LOT of leading questions but for financial and common scence reasons you can always tell your fans even if you want to "we are negotiating a contract for the game" as that means your negotiations are now public and could get derailed not to mention breaching NDAs.

Yes he might possible been able to deflect the question by not answering it at all but the odd contract related white lie is understood.

Alonso had a contract with Ferrari for here before he joined while at the same time denying it. It's understood it happens, this does not mean fan accept lying. The just understand negotiations about a new job can be kept under wraps for various obvious reasons.


James, I'm astonished at the responses from some of the posters. There are many acceptable ways to dodge a question, but to outright lie is taking the gloves off. Ok, so be it. Perez and his ilk can expect no quarter given in future. Mucho dinero from slim played no small part in securing the Macca drive but he, and more especially McLaren and MOST especially any sponsors will pay the price. Perez's credibility as a spokesman for any product/service shall hereafter be suspect.



JR, I also thought about the same issue. Both McLaren and Perez were lying to the media. Just like when Ferrari was about to announce Alonso as a driver and letting Kimi go.

However I agree that there would be better ways to answer those kind of questions without misleading fans, the press and without hurting negotiations between the teams and the drivers.


The same can be said then for any product/service sponsoring McLaren, as Withmarsh did essentially the same thing: "if Hamilton leaves we don't have a plan B".


Any spokesman's credibility for a product is suspect due to the obvious affiliation and lack of impartiality.

It was a little white lie that made his weekend easier than telling the truth and coming clean now actually improves his reputation in my eyes. If he'd dodged either or both sets of questions with the usual PR speal it would have just made him another press conference automaton.


I agree. Diplomat speak and lying are not the same thing.

Not sure I like the idea of anyone speaking for the fans, or that the fans as a block have a single view on this.

Craig in Singapore

Well, if McLaren approached his manager instead of Perez directly, then he didn't "outright" lie.


Sorry James but it just sounds like sour grapes on your part.

Yes he lied but he was acting in the interests of his career and his employer and team. For mine that's far more important than keeping the media pack fully advised of his comings and goings. I think he already knows how to deal with you guys 🙂


Being completely frank and honest about this, it is completely irrelevant what a driver tells the media... He can say whatever he wants...

However, if he had told his team that there were no discussions going on with McLaren, then that would be a serious matter...

If there are CONFIDENTIAL discussions going on, then it is best to deny any existence to try and prevent press tittle-tattle, rather than giving a non-comittal answer, which could lead to innuendo!


agreed. He has done everything right. The media have no right to complain. "how dare he not tell us what he's doing". The fact he told the media after must show them that they are too pushy sometimes!


Good thing Sergio is still young, and he has a nice smile. He will receive his media training course, and will learn very well how to give non-answers in the future.


I dont think you can be too harsh on Checo for misleading the media. It wasnt in his interest to divulge that discussions had taken place with McLaren, which is fair enough. If he had said 'yes' or 'maybe' it would have lead to a raft of followup questions which are just unnecessary distractions.

Last time I checked, getting a drive in a top F1 team is difficult to get. You cant blame the guy for not wanting to jeopardise that just to keep the world informed.


I can understand his motivations. James, if you want to write about F1 drivers lying into TV cameras, write a piece about Schumacher.

Craig in Singapore

Or even more recently - McLaren parking it after qualy and lying about the reason to the FIA.


Dead Right.

The infamous Monaco parking incident springs to mind amongst quite a few others.

Nobody at Ferrari came out of that day well : At the time I was particularly disappointed with Ross Brawn trying to defend the indefensible.


You, HFEVO2, and Mojo66 are entirely correct in my view. It was sickening to see Michael Schumacher do what he did to Damon Hill, and Jacques Villenueve on track and then be supported by both Jean Todt, and Ross Brawn. Fortunately some of the better writers such as James Allen kept us aware of this.

Thanks to James Allen for not being bought and sold by the F-1 powers that be.


My Favourite answers of the PC were from Lewis about Sergio...

'He'll be fine'

'Trust me, it will be a good car next year as well, I know. I know exactly what's going on next year with your car'.

He'll learn to defer and deflect those questions.

What annoyed me about the press conference was once the questions went to the floor,there was very little asked about the race on Sunday.


I think that Hamilton saying 'Trust me....... I know exactly what's going on next year with your car' is not only patronising to Perez, but contentious at least (meant to be, I'm sure)

I've no doubt that McL will continue to provide LH with a car capable of winning races, but apart from that, after such remarks, will they trust him further than they can throw him?

If things don't work well at Mercedes & he was saying that he would like to go back to McL in such circumstances, perhaps he should 'button' his lip.

But as has been the case in the past, maybe he can't.


This article was written as if he owes F1 journalists something. It reinforces his decision to not be honest with you guys, he would have been descended upon if anything had been mentioned.

I wish this wasn't looked at as him being "caught" or was somehow "embarrassed" by this. Embrace his honesty, before we know it the journalists will wear him down to the point where he's giving the corporate line that McLaren loves so much.


I agree he has to be a bit more elegant. So far all he had to do was drive well which he does excellently. I think that McLaren and Adrian Fernandez will show him that other side of the business.

However, I like his honesty, even when in a hot temper (Maldonado is a stupid driver). It comes fresh to the sport.


Busted how?, seems perfectly appropriate behavior to me. If the journos dont like it, tough.


"Elegantly swerve it" just puts the media into overdrive because "he did not deny it". That in turn increases speculation and questions for Perez. Agree with Sergio, never show your cards.


I see where your coming from, however, i don't think its embarrassing for him. It's actually refreshing to hear a driver tell the truth for once. Everyone knows drivers mislead the media as they aren't in a position to answer the questions. Perez is merely confirming that he did this because it wasn't the right time to tell the media.


I think he was totally in his rights to say whatever he wanted. The media needs a bit of cheese to go with their whine.


whilst i appreciate the finer points of what you are saying james i feel that what perez did was perfectly understandable, at that point in time. the last thing he needed was to be hounded and he avoided it. being economical with the truth is nothing compared to what the media do with the truth...or their version of it.


But James, Withmarsh was also asked in Monza if there was a plan B if Hamilton left and his answer was "no" as well, what is the difference then?

Of course you know much better than me but I think lying to the press is a common thing in F1, there are plenty of similar examples.

If you take for example quotes from Christian Horner on the team orders saga and then you hear him telling Webber to not attack Vettel a few races later, maybe that is not lying but very hypocritical to say the least.

Kris Grzegorczyk

Excellent point.

And what are to make of Vettel, Horner, Dr Marko and Ferrari if Vettel ends up moving to Ferrari in 2014. Are we supposed to be angry that we've been lied to for two years?

Speculation by fans and the press, and player/driver/manager attempts to deal with it is part and parcel of any sport... And one that I personally enjoy.


Although he said exactly what many would if asked if he was interviewing for another job! Fully understand his reasons given how speculative the media can be, he went the path of least resistance to keep the questions down.


It's refreshing to have a less political answer. All drivers and teams lie - like politicians. When one admits they lied we get journalists acting appalled. Personally I don't think the fans will be as bothered as the poor flapping journos.

Most fans will know Perez had to keep his mouth shut and he's certainly not the first driver to lie outright about contract negotiations. Alonso flatly denied his pre existing option with Ferrari for years in interviews. He speaks fluent English.

Marcus in Canada

I like it it. It's refreshingly honest. We know all the others are lying when asked such questions. They know they are lying. They know that we know that they are lying. We know that they know that we know they are lying. Why not just tell the truth after the fact. Totally understandable.


I think he handled it better than most. Direct in nature, no beating around the bush with fancy words etc. We all do it in our daily life, and his reasons are important to him and his current team. I say dont change a thing Checo, you will be world champ soon!


No, "we" all do not do it in our "daily" life.



It's better for him and sport not to learn it. Let him be him self, he is where he is for exactly that reason.

In all seriousness, I get the feeling I'm watching Jerry Springer show every time it's time for questions from the floor. With all the high profile you have mentioned, I'd imagine there were more professional(decency and common sense) folk there. Peter Windsor's questions are the only that stand out for me, most of the other journalist are straight up hostile.

Be yourself Sergio!!!!!

ps. as for conferences, I mostly refer to Monza and Singapore.


Peter Winsor is a very good journalist as well, and his story goes back to Mansell, Reutemann and the Williams team.

Pity all that business with America F1


Just an FYI and to set the record straight -

When the Singapore GP scandal broke into the news, the very next GP he spoke nary a word about it from the pit lane. I sent an email complaining about the utter silence/embargo on it to Speed TV (which was placed in file 13). He's a "company/ecclestone" man thru and thru.

Nobody I know was surprised when USF1 imploded.



After reading this article in New York Times: The Man Behind the Voice, all the questions from the floor make more sense now.



I wouldn't trust the nyt ("all the news we see fit to print"} as far as I could throw a piano!

I'm going back to the '60's & had a prof who wrote for them.



After reading this article in New York Times: The Man Behind the Voice, all the questions from the floor make more sense now.



With the media the way it is, if I were a driver, well, any one the media are interested in, I'd lie all the time. I'd ensure that the media could never be sure of anything to do with me, and fans could never be sure a media report was correct. The only time I would be honest in public is directly to fans, so for example my Twitter feed would be 100% reliable. That way fans could be sure where the real information comes from, and I would have 100% control over it.


I think this is the first time I would strongly disagree with James Allen (who delivers the best website and Formula 1 insight by far in my opnion)

Perez is under no obligation to reveal anything whatsoever, particularly given the teams and indviduals it involves (McLaren, Mercedes, Hamilton, Schumacher).

I think he did the right thing irespective of how much it might annoy journalists who need a story

I don't think he should be embarrased in any way. Sounds like sour grapes rather than anything else.

I hope I'm mistaken.


I completely second Chris' post here. For the very first time I totally disagree with you James. I have been following F1 since 73 and Sergio is not the first (by far) driver to deny negotiating with a new team during the silly season. They all do it so why should he be singled out ???


Because he was honest enough to admit to the press that he lied... That takes great character imo.

I get it James that you might be peeved of about being lied to, but if someone comes to you and offers a very reasonable explanation of why he was forced to tell this lie, then I guess give him the benefit of a doubt.


I read he's going to be managed by Adrian Fernandez now, if I recall. I don't believe that's been mentioned on this site.

Anyhow I don't see too much wrong with how Perez handled it, personally. Then again I don't work for McLaren!


When I heard the announcement of hi moving to McLaren, I remembered this exact question he was asked last week. He could have simply said then, "No comments" or "I don't wish to answer this now." or "There have been some, but I don't wish to talk more about it." Anyway he is new and he'll get used to this. It reminded me of naivety of Hamilton doing the same when asked by stewards a few years ago. McLaren would definitely do not want something close to that in their new driver.


It has always made me laugh, when a driver, with the media or an American president or notorious mafia boss, stand in court and plead the 5th amendment or deliver the No Comment line.

Please, everyone around them raises eyebrows and knows that the no comment has given them the truth.


McLaren also lied to the media, having said there was no plan B on Hamilton's negotiation. I've always thought that's BS and for a top team like McLaren, they always have backup plans.


Now that's a very good point.


Respect to Perez for keeping it on the "DL" during Singapore. Would have been an unnecessary distraction for himself and his team had he leaked anything.

By the way, thanks for asking about Maria in your latest podcast, James. I had been wondering about the various accidents and injuries we'd seen sustained this year.... pit fires, drivers running into crew, etc.


Swerving should be kept for the racetrack and not the press conference.

So what if he lied to avoid difficult questions and maintain his focus on the race weekend? I would say it was the right action to take for him and for his current team to ensure they maximised their Singapore results. The fact that he admitted the fib this weekend is testament to the honesty of his character.

I look forward to watching and supporting Sergio in the future.


Sports personalities or any person out there, except for government officials and elected politicians, have no obligation to freely give out information whenever journalists desire it. Freedom of speech includes the freedom not to speak.


Well, to lie in any degree is the rule in F1. To say the truth, exception.


Exactly my thoghts.


The only thing that is different here, is Perez has been caught & admitted it. They all do it. I disagree with your opinion James, in that he must change his ways. I think you might be a little agrieved - I think that's the word I'm looking for - that Perez does not have as much respect for the media as you would like (being a member of such) or that he may simply not care to tip toe around & play the F1 games all us fans hate but love at the same time.


I don't have a problem with him lying to the media. It's the only way to get them off your back. "Elegantly swerving" the question just leads to more questions.


James, you nailed it. I still believe that LucaDi's comment about Perez not being ready was a canary in the coal mine. Discussions, I believe, between Perez's management, Ferrari & McLaren were already going on and Ferrari didn't want to be seen publicly, and justifiably so, as having Perez "poached" from underneath their noses. Hence, LucaDi's very public statement way back when. It's called "getting out in front of a story" in "PR Speak".



Maybe so..

But Ferrari considering sacking Massa has been going on for longer. If Ferrari were truly interested in Sergio's service, at around the half way point of the season he would have been protected via Sauber retaining him for another year, so that he could not be poached by a more hostile and threatening rival team like McLaren.


To iceman and JK -

good points. I just don't believe that Ferrari have been interested in Perez that much. He just

doesn't appear to be a driver who can convincingly bang it on pole in a consistent

manner. The odd one here and there, yeah. I think Ferrari use some drivers as chips to bargain with. We will never know what deal slim cut with LucaDi. Cash and "future considerations", as we say in Baseball trades could have been the deal. What those "considerations" would be would depend on Perez's performance over a given period. In 1988 Monza was the twelfth race of the 1988 season. A 1-2 finish for the Ferrari team, and the only race of the 1988 season that McLaren-Honda failed to win. "Stuff" happens in F1. Ferrari may have an eye on Bottas, in which case a 3 way deal could involve Williams and another team. This is how the F1 merry-go-round works sometimes.

Tell me I'm wrong - I can take it. LOL, regards



It was a fitting outcome, wasn't it ?

I'm not an Alonso or Ferrari supporter ( just aspiring to be an owner ) but I also thought it fitting that Alonso won the 60th anniversary race at Silverstone against the odds at the time.


You make it sound like it was a fix!

I was a firm Ferrari supporter then, it was a great & timely result. My allegiances have changed.


P.S. I forgot to add that Enzo Ferrari had just passed away on 14 Aug 88. And I think the Monza GP result was fit and proper to a giant of motorsport.



My reply came out wrong...

It tells us that being an academy driver has very little control, strings or ties to the team in question.

But surely Ferrari could have made pre-emptive moves on Sergio so that he was not available for poaching..


What I meant was this..

Better to have him locked up at Sauber for 2013 and have him as an option for 2014 onwards (if decided honestly that he was not ripe for Ferrari yet), than lose ties with him for ever and have him poached by a rival team like McLaren.

It is probably a wiser move by Sergio from his stand point, but from Ferrari's viewpoint, they could have played their cards better. But they did not, which make me think that being an academy driver comes with very little obligations, strings or ties attached.


I meant to say this..

Even if Ferrari did not want Sergio's service for 2013 at least, better to have him locked in and protected at Sauber than lose him for ever at McLaren...


That statement could come back to haunt Luca di Montezemolo though couldn't it. It was way back in June that di Montezemolo first said Perez was not ready for Ferrari. At that point there was surely still plenty of time to make a deal with Perez if they had wanted to. If he does a good job at McLaren next year then Luca's early rejection of him will look like a misjudgement.


He'll learn. It wasn't ideal but I don't think it needs to be made a big deal out of this. Most of them "lie" to the media during the silly season, but I agree he could have handled it a bit better.

All that will come in time with the right guidance.


Why? Sounds like sour grapes from a journo to be honest.

If someone in my industry (and a lot of us know each other) said "are you interviewing with a leading company?" I'd say no as well, even if I was.

Granted, I'm not in F1, but why should he say he is in talks?


Is there a case of drivers not needing journalists as much as they used to since the advent of social media?

I assumed that once upon a time, drivers would have needed journalists on their side to get noticed by team bosses or sponsors, whereas these days they can do so via Twitter or Facebook.

It might be something we see more of in the future.

(Aah!... what's the deal with young people and manners. :))


These kind of attachments are rotten apples. I though we were to be a better human beings?

Any of the journalists you mention, would be ashamed to put into the category with the ones that started asking questions after official debrief.


I'm nit sure I'm getting what you're at...

If you are responding ti my post then perhaps I don't understand the subtlety.


Well that's worth a 5 place grid penalty.


LOL, he should have said "no [comment]"


Fair comments from Perez I'd say. Who has he upset by lying, apart from the journalists?

Craig in Singapore

...and why are they upset? Because he lied to them, or because they believed it?


You have hit the nail on the head!


No, he hammered his thumb! James pointed out that the media had, at that very point in time, gotten wind of it. They were trying to get it on the public record (which is important in and of itself).



I watched the Singapore Press Conference and I thought at the time something was going on with Perez when he answered a question about the possibility of driving for another team when he was still linked to the Ferrari Academy.

His answer was along the lines of that it wouldn't be a problem, as if it had already been cleared.

I actually think Perez handled it quite well. I've heard 'elegant swerves' from Hamilton in recent weeks which just aren't believable in the slightest. Christian Horner never comes across as believable.

So Perez isn't alone in this, Schumacher was another example in Singapore, one story for the TV compound and the opposite for the Stewards.


Interesting James that you highlight this matter. I've often felt sorry for F1 drivers being continually 'harassed' by endless questions while they are - or are not - involved with something that hasn't been sorted out yet. I must admit I would have done the same thing if I was in Sergio's position - it's hard being pumped by a constant barrage of questions about something that is being dealt with behind the scenes, something which isn't finalized yet, and something the Media don't have a 'Right To Know' just because they are The Media! At least it takes the pressure off: just saying something like 'No Comment' only allows all the crazy speculations to continue.

I see in the press conference Hamilton was still being asked to comment on his team-change story even though he - twice - made it clear he only wanted to talk about this weekend's race. Ya can't win! 😉


Yes that's exactly it isn't it Dave. If Perez had said "yes, I am in negotiations with McLaren, but nothing is decided and the negotiations are secret so please don't ask me any further questions about it," would that have stopped the journalists asking any further questions? Of course not.


So what should he have said to be politically correct?


Poor guy filling Hamiltons shoes and fulfilling Mclarens pr comittments sure wont be easy.

Wish him all the luck


I don't see any difference between Perez saying no teams have made approaches to him and Hamilton saying that he was only dealing with McLaren and wasn't aware of any negotiations with Mercedes when its pretty clear he was in the loop the entire time.

I can see why Perez flat out denied it for the sake of his race weekend, but things will definitely change for him when he starts driving for a top 3 team.

I'm really glad McLaren went with him, he's shown how great of a racer he can be...particularly with his race in Monza and the pass on Kimi through the chicane where he was driving on the edge but still had the trust and respect to give Kimi room and not act dangerously. I really want to see what he can do with a championship capable car.


Let's hope a McLaren driver never ends up lying to the actual stewards. Oh, sorry that's been done


Bernie said himself that F1 is not a real sport. It's a spectacle that forms part of the global media. I'm sure even a few readers of these forums will have realised by now the corporate media constantly lies to us. How else would they sell anything?

James does raise a valid point though. Many drivers do try to be as honest as possible, during post-qualy conferences for example. I think it's an honourable quality amongst them, which seperates them from the bean counters who run the show. Sergio should take note.

Craig in Singapore

Maybe he was just getting a bit of practice in.


And ofc we all know that press conferences are held under oath, so he's in a lot of trouble.


James , I understand the media's frustration , but sometimes things can not be divulged - period.

Sadly this is a sign of things to come I feel.

Whilst the media can be your best mates , they can also crucify you in the same breath , the media have made everyone super wary.

Maybe Perez had not tied away all his sponsors and obligations when the questioning was being done

Maybe he was giving the "Bill Clinton" clause - "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!!! "


James, you are joking, first of all you should be trashing Mclaren who said have NO PLAN B.

Give the guy a break.


Well the majority has said it

**Majority 15 plus - well done Sergio

**Media 4

Journos do not tell us how to answer , obviously he does not trust anyone

"fair bump ... play on "


I hope McLaren and Perez prove me wrong, but this is not the guy to challenge for the WDC. As per my previous comment, Perez' success this year has been tire management, starting with fresh tires outside top 10. This will not be a winning tactic with McLaren...

His blunt media management is a lesser problem...




As you are someone who works in the media world around F1, what would have been an acceptable answer to those direct questions to Perez that would have kept the media, McLaren, Sauber and the fans happy?

I am guessing there probably is not one.


James, what is truth in F1?


I don't know if the point has been made above but you only need to look at the size of Kimi's fanbase to see the that dealing correctly with the media isn't necessarily linked to fans' perception of a driver.


Honestly James let's not start chipping away at Perez, he has only just arrived at McLaren, its bad enough with Hamilton, who can barely speak without being disbelieved, misrepresented, hyped or just simply disliked by the media.

These lads are not politicians, diplomats, or contestants in a popularity contest, they're just racing car drivers.


Just look at Schumacher's press conference and the way he reads his statement. I've come to hate the PR bull. Don't make us into idiots, we know what is happening.

Thx Sergio.


The 'media' can report whatever they choose, truth or not. Quite often it's all fantasy, innuendo & hearsay. Yet a F1 driver seems obligated to tell the truth even if it might jeopardize his future. Phttt. How can he say, "si, I am very close to signing with McLaren" when so many other peoples futures are still not known? If he said yes I am going to McLaren and Lewis hadn't announced his plans, then what would Schumi (for example) had thought about his future?

I like the kid. I support his Singapore comments. He said the right thing.


James, what I hope you have learned from this is that the fans (on here anyway) don't give a toss for the feelings of the press pack, to my mind SP had seen the hoo-ha around LH and needed to keep his head down until it was signed and sealed. The teams are always economical with the truth yet I dont see you dancing up and down about this. In your reply to stuart earlier was that an implied threat? ("we can all remember this") that the press pack will have it in for SP? I hope not.

Paul M


I think everyone is being a little hard on our host - the media circus is all part of the entertainment of the sport, and without journalists doing their job there would be a lot less to talk about. It is the same in any other entertainment sport - talking about football players and where they should be isn't confined to transfer day, for example.

Sergio Perez can flatly deflect questions from journos, but wait until the cameras start avoiding his sponsor logos, he'll soon pipe up!



All respect for you and the work you do, but let's be honest here: it's not unusual the media to produce stories and sometimes lies in order to sell more papers and magazines, or to attract more audience to their TV shows and web sites.

There are things that cannot be commented in order to avoid to affect the negotiations... Perez did the right thing and the media should just assume didn't get the info before it has been disclosed.

sorry for you and all the ones that feel betrayed.


I wouldn't normally condone lying but in this situation I think Perez did the right thing.


Isn't this why this has always been called 'the silly season'?

A few months ago, the Spanish Prime Minister lied to journalists about having/not having asked the EU to bail out the banks, so as not to jeopardize ongoing negotiations. THAT was a bit serious. This is a youngster trying not to be too distracted in an F1 weekend.

Come on, it's not such a big deal.


So... Perez has PRIVATE conversations with McLaren. He is then asked by the media if he had that conversation. He has three options:

A) Admit the conversation. This basically breaks his word with McLaren.

B) Deny the conversation. Which the media regard as lying.

C) Fluff the answer. This is the worst of A and B, as it effectively reveals that there is a private conversation going on, without actually giving an honest answer either.

At the heart of this is the media's sense on self-entitlement that that they require full-disclosure from everyone being interviewed. This is a fallacy.

NB: I note that this is all caused by Perez being too honest - by revealing that McLaren talks started weeks ago. That's the mistake that he needs to learn from.


Your argument that,

"At the heart of this is the media’s sense on (sic) self-entitlement that that they require full-disclosure from everyone being interviewed," is indeed wrong. No-one expects or asks for that.

It's very simple. The media is entitled to ask and he is entitled to answer it however he chooses.

But if one accepts that one cannot believe a word that a person says, what basis is that for working on?

There have long been people in F1 who tell lies (as in all areas of life), but there are far more who go to extreme lengths to avoid telling lies.


Hi James,

I get where you're coming from but in this instance, isn't it more about the 'game'?

Sergio has essentially been stitched up by a journo asking the question in the first place.

Any answer other than 'no' is an answer in the positive because if there was nothing going on, he'd say 'no' right?

So, if journo's ask questions that back people into corners, they will occasionally not leave people room other than to lie, or else face a seriously uncomfortable few minutes/days/weeks to follow.

If you are in your early twenties and can laugh it off next week with a cheeky smile, then why not?

I think if he was being asked whether he deliberately took someone out for example, he would answer more honestly.

Maybe I'm wrong.

I think what I'm saying is, if you are a cunning enough journalist, you can ask some pretty awkward questions, so don't be surprised if occasionally you get played at your own game.

I find it all quite funny today but I take your point and see how if someone was being particularly harsh, they could bring it up in future in a 'cry wolf' situation that really mattered.


Does anyone really believe eveything said at a *press conference? Not a chance.

Are they done under penalty of perjury? Nope.

If he lied to me or a sponsor or boss personally then it'd be different.

I think the response to this piece reflects fans' level of contempt for the media in general, with the exception of your esteemed self.

For truthfulness, the only people I rate lower than used car salesmen are politicians and the media.

Craig in Manila


Surely there have been MANY instances where journos knew (based on info from their sources) that a particular person was lying about something yet we rarely (ever?) hear a journalist taking the person to task over it ?

I think many of "us" just dont understand why this is such a big issue and why Sergio is being submitted to this sort of scrutiny when, in the minds of seemingly many of us, his deception was a reasonable act considering his circumstances and not dissimilar to what many other drivers/teams have done in the past.


James, the statement that you ¨can´t believe a word a person says¨ because they lied to protect confidential negotiations is very sweeping.

I really don´t think it follows that because he lied in these circumstances, you will be unable to believe a word he says in future.

Craig in Singapore

I see your point here, James, and in most aspects of "the game" I think you're right. But this was essentially in the middle of confidential contract negotiations which affected quite a few people, and I believe the point you are making has no place in this situation.

How would you feel if he had not denied the question, and because of it, the negotiations subsequently broke down and the offer was rescinded (assuming that this information came to light afterwards). Would you still be insisting "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", knowing that perhaps Sergio's chances of driving with a top team were scuppered?

It's my, and most of your readers', opinion that he hasn't done anything wrong. So give the kid a break, and you'll probably find that he's more than honest with the media in the future.


Really James, I'm surprised by your take on this........Shock, horror, sometimes not everyone tells the full truth to the media!

I really enjoy your work but I do believe that the media, collectively, sometimes take themselves a little to seriously and I'm surprised that you seem to have lent in that direction this time.


Sorry James I don't agree with you. I think it's a great shame that now we have to live with PR sensitive liars. They are all like politicians now because they are not allowed to tell the truth so as a consequence they then say no comment and refuse to talk.


i totally get that he could have deflected in a different way, but hey, he's been a big boy and fronted up.

i guess what is being said is that lying is an accepted, if not always acceptable part of the game so we shouldn't be too precious.


It is a sad day when we should attempt to turn genuinely nice people (Perez), in to smooth talking politicians who never give a straight answer to any question, hence the popularity of Kimi, Sergio, Lewis etc

Yes he lied, for the reasons we all would, to protect sponsors, his career etc. The same as if someone is asked by a 5 year old is Farther Christmas exists.

Did the interviewer genuinely expect him to say....

"Yes, I’m in talks and would like to leave Sauber for a better team"

Then if Hamilton had decided to stay, have questions for the next year about is commitment to the Sauber, being motivated by money only etc?

It is great to see that the majority of posters agree.

Fingers crossed McLaren leave him just as he is….although that’s not going to happen.


Perez doesn't have to learn anything, James. You are not entitled to all information in the paddock.


Hi James,

The headline to the article infers/implies that Perez said "sometimes we just have to mislead the media".

Q. Did he actually say this ?


James I think you need to see that you and your standards are not the average 'press'. The simple fact is that your site is unique in that you give balanced reports and fair coverage without sensational exaggeration and misleading slants. If the press were all like you, divers like Perez could be more open and less defensive. However look at this as shown in your own piece and here:

“Questioner: But have approaches been made?

Perez: No.

The question is asked and answered. So what is this next question?

Questioner: From major teams, no approaches?

Perez: No.”

This is badgering, this is disbelieving his answer no matter what it is, this is disrespect. This was coming and he knew it! So what is Perez to do? Well he answers as he knows he needs to answer in order to be left alone on this topic as he clearly wishes to be.

I don't like it either, but the fault lies first with the lack of respect and space from the press, not to mention outright dishonest reporting which we see all the time!. This site is testimony that the press do not need to badger, harass or invent in order to serve their public audience and careers, but you unfortunately, stand almost alone James.

I for one admire Perez for his honesty after the fact, something you also seldom see. Notice Brawn said that the reports about Hamilton were 'speculation' and a week later Lewis signs for them. Do we see Brawn here saying 'oh that was just talk (lies) for the press'?

Hats off to Perez for revealing that he is truly honest at heart if not yet savvy on how to say "Thats none of your business!"


Another excellent point. Although I'm sure James set the article in a sort of tongue-of cheek POV, and James would rather Perez admitted he'd "lied" in order to allow his contract negtions to progress as would the mast vajority of the fans


good post. Agree completely


Superb post. Completely agree.


I'll second that. Thanks.

Craig in Manila

Excellent comment.


Excellent post. Thanks.


Hi James,

First time I have ever had to disagree with one of your pieces. My view is that Perez was perfectly within his rights to say No when asked in Singapore.

A driver's job is to drive, not to fuel media speculation about who's going where and who's doing what next season.

You said 'he has been busted here and it’s embarrassing for him'. I disagree.

Yes, he was caught out, but he has admitted that he was 'economical with the truth'. But I don't think it is in anyway embarrassing for him and if anything makes me warm to him a little more, because he wasn't playing a disingenuous political game.

I, for one, welcome Sergio's approach.


So you caught someone lying in F1! 😉

Come on James! You are my favorite F1 reporter, please keep your feet in the real world.


Just flagging it up, that's all.

It will be important further down the line and the fans' reaction here has been very telling - 90% in favour of accepting that it's ok not to have any reasonable expectation that people are telling the truth.

To say, "there's nothing really happening, I don't know where all these stories are coming from" or similar deflects the question, doesn't invite a torrent of fresh questions and doesn't compromise a person.

To say "No" twice when asked a direct question, makes a very clear statement. It turns out that wasn't true (some of us knew it when he said it anyway)

So from this point, we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time.

There will be occasions when that view will come back to haunt you.


Like in Hungary, when Alonso told the media that 'Massa had made a small mistake' and Massa said 'we all saw what heppened'

Shows you that 'bending the truth' is part of being the most 'complete' driver...


Needless to say, I think it depends on the context. In this context, talking about his own personal future driving plans, I think most people seem to be accepting of it. It might damage Perez's credibility in a similar situation in the future but I don't think many people (me included) think it's a big deal.

When Schumacher came out and said he didn't deliberately park his car at Monaco, people (including me) had a massive problem with it.

When Domenicalli says there were no team orders between Fernando and Massa, people (including me) have a problem with it.

(Not meaning to sound anti-Ferrari, they're just the only examples I can think of at the moment...)


I can't agree here.

I can accept that Checo lied when he said "no" twice to a direct question. In my opinion, he would have been lying as well if he had been more diplomat saying something like "there’s nothing really happening" or so. I actually don't expect no one to tell the truth when asked just "that" specific question. Confidential negotiations, confidentiality agreements and so on.

But this doesn't mean that from now on I expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time. I don't expect drivers or team managers to lie about on-track incidents, but I assume that they will not tell us "all" the truth when asked about technical questions, for example.

So let's keep it simple as it is. Not polite? For sure. But not a capital offence...


SORRY: "...I actually don’t expect ANY one..."


I don't think we are saying we are fully comfortable with everyone in F1 lying all the time. I think what we're saying is we can distinguish between and appreciate the priorities Perez was setting and agree with his conclusions:

That it was more important for Perez, his sponsors, Sauber and McLaren to not get continually pestered over the weekend, then it was to include the press in dealings they had nothing to do with whatsoever.

In addition to this, people in F1 right now, with far more actual corporate responsibilities than Perez, have been shown to have lied to the press without so much as a blink from either party.

I also don't think this has anything like the consequences you say this will have on future interactions between press and drivers. Drivers already look to me as if they feel like they have to deal with more than their fair share of continual probing and repeat questions on topics that they are not comfortable with, or simply not at liberty to discuss. On the other hand, the press already look to me as if they are second-guessing every answer given them. So how is this one instance going to change that?


I have a hunch this may be the Latin culture that creates the misunderstanding here James.

I'm surprised by that because I thought you spoke fluently three languages including Italian.

I do not know about the background of the people commenting on your site although I suspect a fair share of Aussies (far more relaxed manners) and 'pommies'. If the latter isn't bothered by the lying, then we'll put this on a generation gap maybe?

What is really annoying for the journos is someone admitting lying in their face. This is just plain rude - I get this, even as a native French speaker.

To say “there’s nothing really happening, I don’t know where all these stories are coming from” is a typically English/German way of expressing oneself. I wouldn't expect it from a speaker of a Latin based language unless they were extremely well educated, PR trained or just clued up enough. Perez will indeed have a lot to learn PR wise at McLaren.

Do any of your French, Spanish or Italian colleagues share your opinion?

Finally, the reason why I don't think this should affect you is your positioning as an F1 journalist.

I'm pretty sure most people come to your site for the thoroughness of your reporting, analysis and opinion/comment e.g. Formula 1 storing up a big problem for itself in five years time was a great article only you seem to be writing. I certainly do and also enjoy your excellent podcasts.

PS: I should be in Australia, Monza and Singapore next year. After Lotus and Caterham this year, maybe I will have the opportunity to visit the Williams or another Total powered team guest box. I'll let you know.



I'm Mexican and have lived in the US for the past 10+ years, and worked with more than my fair share of Germans/Americans (plus many other nationalities).

Although it seems to me that Checo has much better English skills that your typical Mexican, the subtle way of talking without saying much in English does not come natural for a native Spanish speaker from Mexico(I wouldn't want to venture talking on behalf of the rest of Latin / Mediterranean speakers).

Actually, I could see Checo expressing what JA wanted to hear in Spanish quite easily - we Mexican are known (and parodied) about our skills to stretch the truth when dealing with Americans, but when we do it, we do it in Spanish, in our context, and in a different way.

Saying straight NO to your face is not common for a Mexican, and I have to say, it surprised me. Most of us tend to be non-confrontational - very much unlike the Americans/Germans I have typically worked with. But then again, if there is a language barrier, and I want to avoid the question, I could see myself trying to diffuse it in the easiest, fastest possible way, without trying to get even deeper into hot water.

I could see this is the reason why Checo explained himself (I'm not a psychologist, but if I have say NO straight to your face today, it is in my culture and my upbringing the need to apologize for it tomorrow).

It seems to me that that Checo wanted to completely avoid the question (for obvious reasons, in the middle of, probably, his most important contract negotiation to date). If most of you informed journalist knew the answer already, why ask it again?

Now James, about your concern that from this point on a new standard exists with your relation with other F1 people, including sponsors and companies, who is being naive now? A healthy dose of cynicism has brought me a long way in business!

Craig in Manila


Now, I've gotta ask this one :

If some of you KNEW that he was lying at the time and that he HAD been in discussions, why didnt a journalist report that to the fans and/or put that to him at the press conference ?


I fully understand your point here, however what if I say I really don't expect people to tell the truth as far as negotiations, money or driver seats are concerned?

I mean, if you asked a team boss if he is thinking about replacing a driver who is not doing very well and he says the obvious truth "Yes, we are" with still 7 races to go, what do you think would be the impact on that driver?

That is just one of many scenarios anyone here can think of when it is just better to tell the white lie and carry on minding each one their own business.

Anyway, I don't think you have to be cynical James about the fans response here. This is a friendly space and you just have to ignore those who pick on you because of your evident discomfort with Sergio's issue.

Thanks for your hard work! Much appreciated!


"..........So from this point, we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time.........."

I don't think so James, instead what we have established is that fans here believe some in the media (not necessarily you) to be just a tad self-important. A timely reminder perhaps, that journalists need to take stock of their place in the grand scheme of things from time to time....


Hi James

Wonderful debate.

I don't think it's quite so black and white

as to say, "we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time."

Rather, it's all context sensitive.

I think if a driver had lied about whether, for example, he knew about a rule infringment or the cause of a crash from his perspective, then everybody here would have had a different response.

However in the context of personal and commercially sensitive contract negotiation questions, or what new wonderous but secret device X team has come up with to give a competitive advantage then, no, most people are not bothered.

It is understandable that he was in an impossible position as per 77 a/b/c above and no possible answer gets anybody anywhere. When the questioner asked the question they know that nobody can really answer it. So far as such questions and answers are concerned - its all 'in the game'. I suspect many people even enjoy the posturing / misdirection / 'lies' in such situations as it can create an overall sense of fun speculation.

So, in short, there are lies and there are lies. Perez comments on this occasion do not automatically mean we cannot trust the man going forward.

P.s. Cant wait to see him in a McLaren.



May I point out that not everyone states their view, and so it may be the case that most commenters are people who differ with the view of the article, while maybe most people who agree with the article don't feel compelled to post? So it may be the case that most people are with the 10%, just didn't speak up. It's the same thing that social scientists often do, making something out of a statistic despite that the data do not imply anything without additional data. Now if the website stats show that enough people who read the article commented, that the ratio of respondents to readers is so high that there must indeed be a majority in favor of the apparent 90%'s view, then fine, that additional data makes interpretation valid.

I can send you a proof by symbolic logic if you wish 😀 jest jesting... actually I probably could.


Or let's just do a poll!


"So from this point, we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time"

Wrong - they do not expect or like everyone to lie all the time. I hope you are exaggerating on purpose.

In my opinion, what many here are saying is not that we like lies, but simply that we accept that some questions cannot be answered.

You say that he could have answered: “there’s nothing really happening, I don’t know where all these stories are coming from” instead of a simple "No", but you know what? That would be a lie too, because *something* was happening.

I think (like other people here) that he had fully the right not to tell you anything about his negotiation with McLaren and he was basically forced to lie by the question.

As someone else said, there were 3 options:

A) Admit the negotiation

B) Deny it

C) Deflect the question

He had the right not to choose A, so he was left with B and C.

If B and C were equal, in the sense that the journalist is left convinced that there is nothing going on after he has asked the question, then in both B and C the journalist has been lied to (in a more or less manipulative way).

If B and C were not equal, in the sense that C doesn't deny as B, then C is admitting something - but Cecho had the right not to admit anything!

So, to sum it up, I (and many other fans I suppose) DO NOT like lies, but we understand that Cecho was somewhat forced to lie and we actually like that he, in a way, "restored" the truth by being honest about it as soon as he could.

I would also like to add that it was the article which gave me bad feelings - as it seemed to imply that Perez should learn the ways of "political, deflective, manipulative" answers which are usually connected with lies - while his current simple and direct attitude is instead connected with being honest.


"So from this point, we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time."

I can't speak for others, but I don't believe what most drivers and team managers say, a lot of the time.


Last year we had at least two occasions when the race was affected by available light. Drivers to whom a sudden finish would be beneficial, all said they can't see. Drivers who would benefit to see the race concluded, said they could see just fine.

We're used to it. Yes, some drivers said they had a darker or lighter tint on their visors... but come on!

Perez got caught with his hands in the till, and that's unfortunate for him. Undoubtedly, next year he will be given some mentoring on how NOT to answer questions. I just wish we could have some drivers line Irvine and Villeneuve (Jacques).

Oh and another thing: I believe Gerhard Berger was the only driver ever to admit that living it Monaco might have something to do with taxes... does that make every other F1 driver a liar?


James, I counter your point by writing that I don't watch press conferences because I don't believe half of what is said on the juiciest stories such as this one. Especially the post race press conferences when incidents are still under investigation, drivers lie through their teeth all of the time and the only reason journalists have not called it a lie is because it would forfeit their relationship with the drivers. Means to an end from both the drivers and the journalists.

On a final, more detailed point, I think it is unfair to hold Perez to account like this when you aren't privy to the specifics of the contract negotiations, or at least you have not reported them in support of this article. He may have been obliged not to disclose specific information to the media until McLaren announced the deal. His contract may have had a line which read "to be activated ONLY in the event of Lewis Hamilton leaving,"


"So from this point, we have established that fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time"

Hi James, I think you might have really missed the point of all the responses here. I dont read that fans have said this at all. They are saying that they can appreciate how Sergio handled this particular situation - considering all the various aspects. Many have also said they appreciate his honesty in respect to coming clean about it at the appropriate time.

That how I read it anyway, and how I see it personally too.

Craig in Singapore

Now your being a little excessive, James. Nobody here is saying that we "expect (or are comfortable with) everyone in F1 to lie all the time". What we are saying is that in at least this situation (ie; ongoing confidential contract negotiations) that it is ok, and we fully understand the reasons why.

The way you put it (ie; you example of what he could have said) is very artful, but writing is your profession, and English your native language, so I would expect nothing less. However, having said that, "there's nothing really happening" is also still a lie, as something (now) quite clearly was happening.


James - I think this may be another aspect of this that we are seeing differently to you. In my eyes there is little moral difference between a lie, and a bit of verbal gymnastics that technically avoids being a lie but aims to perform the same deception.


The "really" gives wriggle room..

he didn't have a contract at that point so there was nothing "really" happening.

Another classic is "at this moment in time", because that doesn't rule out that you will sign a contract in five minutes time!


What was the need to ask the second question? Did the first "No" not adequately do the job or was it a case of badgering?

If he had of answered honestly he would still be in the Sinapore press conference now!!


Surely "there's nothing really happening" would have been equally untrue, when something was in fact really happening?

I have to agree with everyone else that this story does not seem to arise from Perez lying, but from telling the truth.

Why is this not "embarrassing" for Martin Whitmarsh, who was insisting "there is no plan B" whilst clearly working on plan B?

It seems to me that the media ignore being lied to all the time - perhaps wilfully, perhaps subconsciously. In F1, teams and drivers are always denying that deals are being done, or have been done, when in fact they are. But if they don't later admit the denials were false, then the media can't get away with calling them liars, and so feel compelled to turn a blind eye to the deception.

The case of Dwain Chambers is another example of this effect I think. He was reviled in the press to a far greater extent than any other convicted drugs cheat in British athletics. The difference? Most other drugs cheats either say nothing after being caught, or continue to claim their innocence. Chambers held his hands up and publicly admitted the offence. It looks very much like he received more condemnation as a result of being honest than for being a cheat.

I don't think it's fair to say that the fans expect everyone in F1 to lie all the time. What I'm getting from these comments is that as human beings, we understand that others are often trying to deceive us; but that when we have been lied to, we would rather find out the truth, even after the fact, than have everyone simply pretend it never happened - as presumably would have happened here, if Perez had made some non-committal answer in yesterday's press conference and not admitted to the lie.


No James, that's not what the people commenting think. I think we can disambiguate the different kinds of 'lies'.

Sergio's lie is the one where he is involved in confidential negotiations about his career and doesn't feel any moral obligation to include the media in that process. Anybody who has moved jobs will know and understand the deception required for a job move to happen. To pretend otherwise is to stretch credulity. We understand that it's a journalist's job to ask. But place a moral judgement on the fact that you are not getting the information you want is to hold a simplistic, and I'd say, disingenuous view of the way the world works. It smacks of framing, not reporting. He's being asked to confirm something you either already know (in which you have sources and can report it anyway) or suspect (in which case your job is to keep digging).

The other kind of lie is exemplified by what Schumacher did at Monaco. He lied about the actions he had taken, in manner that stretched credulity. There's a difference. It's a reporter/journalists job to spot the two kinds (and yes I appreciate that sometimes it's hard to do that), and give us the information on the ones that matter.

This isn't about Sergio, it's actually about journalism and what it stands for. We come to your site because you are a very good journalist and have shown a repeated ability to filter and curate the important stories for us. To give us insights into the reality of F1, and to comment and give perspective on things surrounding the sport we all love. You play a better game than many of your colleagues. You are a journalist, not a pundit. Leave the synthetic shock to others. Because when you are really bothered by something in F1, you'll write about it, and we'll all know then how important that thing is.


English is not his first language as noted, and as a young person learning fluency in English, saying "No" was simply the best way for him. Trying to embellish it in a foreign language would probably get him in a lot more hot water. If he's thinking in Spanish and translating to English on the fly, it's going to come out all wrong. Please give the guy a break.


James, I sent a comment but don't see it. Has it fallen into the "Black Hole of Calcutta" for a specific reason?



No, just lots of comments to moderate!


“there’s nothing really happening, I don’t know where all these stories are coming from”

But isn't that just as much of a lie as saying "No"?


ABSOLUTELY! That's why I said ya damned if ya do and damned if ya don't! Hence what Sergio did was - in this case - the best option.


Contractual negotiations etc. should be kept confidential until agreements are made and official announcements released. The media ought to respect this and refrain from asking such questions. All the journos want to do is put the drivers in an awkward position in the hope they'll let something slip. Perez is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Perhaps all drivers and teams should agree to make no comments whatsoever on such issues until contracts are signed.


He could have said "No comment" or "I'm not at liberty to talk about it", but simply saying "No" was the best course. I've no problem with it. He had his race to focus on rather than distractions by the media.


He could have said "No comment" or "I'm not at liberty to talk about it", but saying "No" was the best course. I've no problem with it. He had his race to focus on rather than distractions by the media.


Either of your suggested alternate answers however would have answered the question and elicited a barrage of followup questions that would still be going on.


Exactly. As I said, saying "No" was the best course.


I don't think this is the crime of the century, of all the lies to pick up on in F1 why has this got attention? It was a little white lie. Nobody in the media really pulls up Bernie or the FIA for their various "white lies" or U Turns because they are at risk of having their access severely hampered.

As for F1 in its approach to the media in general, you only have to look at Indycar (I'm banging this drum again) and the drivers and teams are so much more approachable that it is frankly unbelievable that F1 gets away with its closed shop approach.

A few races ago you had Franchitti joining the commentary team after retiring on the formation laps, something you wouldn't get any of the top drivers do in F1. Then you have drivers not talking on the grid, signing exclusive interview deals with certain networks, Ferrari purposely talking in Italian over the radio and other teams using coded messages etc.


The way he dealt with it was fine. If he had of said "No comment" (or words to that effect), it would have been taken by the media as a "yes" and he would then have been pressed on the issue.


Perhaps its because of this specific situation James?

If other people are feeling as I am, then we're happy to cut the "new guy" some slack. I certinaly dont want people ot lie and I dont think it's ok fro peopel to lie in F1.

But I can forgive Perez in this situation. He was on the spot, not quite sure how things were going to pan out, quite probably a bit overwhelmed that events were moving so fast. He just wanted to end the conversation asap.

Certainly, in the future, if he is shown to lie, I think fans would be a lot less forgiving. And probably if one of the top/experienced drivers had made such a glaring untruth, then yes, there would be quite a bit of outrage.


Sorry James, just saw comment, please disregard Calcutta.

P.S. I'm with you on this but I think journalists, whom I seldom, if ever trust, share much of the blame (in the political sphere). People must realize that if Perez can lie with impunity, then so can you! And if your readers hold you both to the same standard then we can't expect the truth from you at any time. You can always rationalize a lie. Liars do it all the time. (And yes, I realize that you can't tell us everything, but I expect you to remain silent on an issue or speak with caveats etc. I'm a big boy, older than you (hate to admit it) and can read between the lines and connect the dots.

But I fear this battle was beginning to be lost (at least here in the states) in 1965 when conduct and deportment was no longer a graded item on report cards in the U.S. Sounds silly but it ain't!

Keep your healthy attitude, and when he's old enough, show your son this blog as a warning (LOL).

Sorry for the ramble,



Does anybody ever take whats said in interviews as gospel anyhow? "I didnt see him" "Both drivers receive equal treatment" of "For sure I want to continue with this team".


I dont' even bother watching the press conferences or interviews any more. "for sure" ... "it's a long race" ... "we will see" blah blah blah. Only Kimi says anything worth listening too, the rest is always the same old bog standard answers. Race over, switch off.




Good on you Sergio!

Lets hope in a few months time he hasn't been "media trained" in repeating McLaren's favourite "The team has done a fantastic job" for the ten thousandth time...let the drivers have a personality.


In relation to the above, James, can you please answer the following question with either "Yes", "No", or "No Comment."

Have you shown any interest whatsoever in taking on Jake Humphrey's job when he leaves?

Please note "I'm very happy where I am thanks" is not on the list of options.

I'm pretty sure every one of the readers on this excellent site would be perfectly happy if you answered 'No' , whether it is true or not, and leave us to make up our own minds on whether or not we believed you.


I can see both sides of the story here but I do think he should have said that there were talks but nothing is really being confirmed- these talks go on all the time.

I can understand he did not want to ruin his big break so maybe now he has it then he can open up a bit (which to be fair he has done now).

I remember watching clips of Senna in '92 or '93 openly admitting in interviews that he is trying to come to an agreement with Williams- honestly is sometimes the best policy so long as it isn't going to bite you in the @ss?


The problem for him is that now his comments will not be trusted.

He could have said "that would be a question for my management" or "I am here to talk about this weekend" etc etc.

It is Ok to conceal the full facts; and I have never believed there is a sin of omission; but I to deliberately and out right lie, and then essentially insinuate that you would lie again in a heart beat makes him untrustworthy.


No it just means you can't believe what ppl say in a press conference when backed up against the wall by a pack of baying hounds.



You are wrong to deduce that "fans are in favour of accepting that it is OK not to have any reasonable expectation that people are telling the truth" or that "fans are fully comfortable with that and expect everyone to lie all the time"

The reality is that fans do not get the whole story and indeed when sensitive business is being negotiated perhaps there is no reason we should. Frankly most of us are probably happy to wait for the actual outcome to be announced. All the speculation in advance is simply sport for the media.

Asking a man a question that you already know he may not answer without causing himself difficulties either way may seem clever to a journalist, but it isnt.

In short I suggest that the issue here is not Perez but an F1 media that can not decide whether it is selling fact or tabloid speculation and by its incessant asking of pointless questions puts decent people in impossible positions.



Actually, Perez was not "busted" on anything. He answered the October 4 question honestly, presumably because the deal with McLaren was done. You appear to have isolated Perez in this instance simply because he acknowledged that he misled the media in an earlier interview session. If you and other journalists knew at the time of the earlier question that negotiations between Perez and McLaren were underway, then get another source to confirm the story and be on your way. If credibility is your concern, you might have included McLaren in this post since it was the other party involved and you very easily could have asked one of its representatives.


I'm with you James, I don't like liers. I'm much harder on my kids if I find they have lied to me than I am for the actual misdemeanour itself. If I can't trust someone, how can I ever support them or back them up? I don't like Sergio's direct lie, but I do like the fact that he has not tried to make excuses for it now, and has come clean. Mixed moralities!


I wonder if it is a language/communication issue?

Perhaps, the best asnwser would/should have been - no final decision about the future has been taken.

Don't the drivers have handlers that provide standard answers/statements to repeat to the press?


Sergio could have chosen another way to steer away the question without giving out too much information about himself and consequently about Lewis' intentions. Of course fans don't want to listen to cliched comments, but this was very dishonest from both Sergio and Martin (no plan B).


Not saying anything about our host, but... the media never tell a fib when it suits them, right?

If the media didn't press invasive questions, people wouldn't be trapped into having to choose between lying or having their mind raped.


For once James I can't agree with you (and that's a rare thing!)

I don't think there is any shame in this particular little lie. While the differences with Perez and Sauber are slightly different, if my employer asked if I was currently job hunting I would do exactly the same thing, and I suspect you probably would too.

The fact he didn't make it easy for some journo's to stoke the fire and get a story is not how he should be judged!


To pick up on someone else's comments, Ross Brawn told a little white lie, and Martin Whitmarsh denied having a plan B in place should Lewis leave. Neither of these have received any disapproval.

The size of this lie is tiny, and I don't feel he'll be judged by it, by anyone other than the press. If, on the other hand, it was something on the scale of Australia's "lie-gate" scandal, then I'm sure all of the comments here would be of a different nature.


If journalist asks a very obviously loaded question they can hardly moan when they don't get a dignified response?

If every interviewee answered every question honestly then you wouldn't have much of job James, don't you think?

It's not as if the lad was hiding something untoward.


I don't see a problem with what he has done...


He's a racing driver, not a politician. If he's been asked to keep something secret then he should. Nothing wrong with this.


I think as others have pointed out lying to the press is part of the ‘game’ of F1 that we all accept. Whitmarsh lying about being in negotiation with Perez, Lewis lying about his own contract negotiations, Horner & Ferrari lying in the past about team orders, drivers (Schumi & Lewis spring to mind) lying about their actions on track. It’s just what goes on and we accept it because we understand the reasons why – a team should be supportive of their drivers in public even if they privately criticize or delicate contract negotiations do not need the additional pressure of more media focus.

If anything I (and clearly others on this site) actually find Perez’s honesty in owning up to the lie refreshing. If that’s not too much of a paradox!

All F1 personnel lie to & mislead the media, they just generally never admit it! Ferrari never admitted that ‘fernando is faster than you’ was a disguised team order. Red Bull never admitted Vettel was favoured over Webber – but we all know that was the case!

I enjoy James' site and I think he is a fantastic journalist and ambassador for F1 but I would agree with some of the other posts here - he seems to have his nose put out of joint by this!


Not a fan of the Hamilton PR machine, at all.

But to get an honest and frank answer is refreshing and due.

I welcome it. Should we all?


Err,is it just me?

Forget F1,does anyone ever say the truth when they are considering making life altering changes in their career?


Hmm, I can see both arguments here but I don't think it can be seen as black and white and it depends on the lie. I think for most people, lying about contract matters is just part of the game of contract negotiations, so isn't too big a deal. Lying about another matter may be different. But just because Perez lied about a private matter such as this, doesn't necessarily mean he is now a person who you can't ever trust the words coming out of his mouth.

While it's an important skill to know how to communicate effectively and in a politically correct manner when in a corporate environment, I agree with other fans' view of how it's tiresome hearing the PR lingo when everyone knows such and such a statement is effectively a lie anyway. Call it being economical with the truth but it amounts to them not saying what has actually happened regardless.

Plus in this particular case, I think I don't think it wrong for Perez to 'make like easier for himself' about the contract and not invite the gossip. And I guess lying and being direct is the best way of achieving that.

It's wrong for media to right lies about someone of course but if the driver wants to lie regarding what is in truth, confidential matters such as contracts - which could be affected by being too public about - is fair enough I think.

That's not to say it's fine for a driver to lie about anything and everything. It depends on the subject. It may affect having a good relationship with the media in the future but I think that would be more about them having a chip on their shoulder. I guess it depends whether it becomes a trait of his ultimately, rather than flatly judge him as a serial liar already.


Whatever a driver says in a press conference is of little consequence or importance - truth or not.

What he does on race day behind the wheel determines who he is.

Regretfully, the media requires constant food for mindless thought.


Reading these comments remind me of that cartoon picture of an old guy saying "I don't wanna live in this planet anymore".

It seems like lying and misleading is perfectly normal and expected, and if you don't agree then you are the problem.

Thank you for siding with the truth, James.


Great post James, I agree with you that he should learn how to deflect the question without denying it. After all, none of us states publicly that he is in talks with another employer before all has been signed and sealed.

I wonder if all the people who say that lying is OK, have the same opinion about lying when that considers team orders, for example...


This is the second time I've posted on this thread which is unique for me (I think)

I would like James to expand on this issue in a further article if possible as I find him to be the most genuine and well informed journalist by some margin and this website is my first (or second, there are other events taking place in the larger world) port of call each morning.

It feels as this topic is quite emotive and I have found some of James' replies slightly less objective than usual, [mod]

The fact of the matter is people will lie.
Sometimes this is the right course of action, sometimes not. This is determined contextually and, with regards to the current topic, I think Sergio did the right thing. There were simply to many other interested parties (and possible careers)involved.

This should not be confused with lies surrounding sporting issues and people 'bending' the rules or cheating.

Sergio didn't cheat but the journalists feel cheated and James intimates (I think) that because we allow this lie we therefore allow/encourage a culture of lying in future.

Not so.

We can see that Sergio made a perfectly rational and justifiable decision to lie given his particular circumstances. Surely we are all smart enough to recognise this.

It's ironic that it was his transparent honesty after the event that led to James writing this article. What exactly are we trying to encourage here?

This comment is too long, but we are dealing with moral issues here and I feel that Sergio was treated unfairly in James' article.


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

I think you are being a little harsh!


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.


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!




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.



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" ?


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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)



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.


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


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!



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.


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.

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 🙂


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!


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.