Notepad on Life

July 26, 2010

Ferrari’s Domenicali fast-tracks art of spin doctoring

Filed under: foreign,Sport — - @ 5:32 pm
Fernando Alonso driving for Scuderia Ferrari a...
Image via Wikipedia

Whatever your view on the Ferrari ‘team orders’ controversy at yesterday’s German Grand Prix, the post-race performance of team manager Stefano Domenicali was a masterclass in ‘perception management’.

If you like that kind of thing.

My, how he ticked all those vital PR boxes (some of them evidenced in the BBC clip here, captioned ‘Domenicali dismisses complaints‘):

1. On the phone to HQ within seconds of the race ending to ask, I think we can safely assume, about the party line and how he plays it. I loved the suggestion that he was merely “reporting to my president”, who I’m sure is never anywhere near a TV set when there’s a Grand Prix on.

2. Drags both drivers back onto the podium after the presentation ceremony is over for an arms-around-shoulders photo opportunity. The old Unity At All Times ploy: if I didn’t know better, I’d be wondering if Domenicali is Church of England.

3. Confronted by BBC pundit Eddie Jordan, he grins like a half-wit and joshes with Jordan like a couple of teenagers on a jolly jape. Because that’s what it is, all one big jolly jape in the sunshine, a storm in a teacup. So let’s just smile and not take it all so seriously, eh? Nothing calculated in that, I’m sure.

4. And to close, the dismissive shrug. “Eddie, first and second: smile…”. Because it’s ultimately all so positive, what’s the problem? Don’t be negative, Eddie. Negative is unhelpful. Negative stops us ‘going forward’ (which, incidentally, is just about the only spinner’s cliche not employed by the Italian in this breathtaking cameo of B.S.)

If Alastair Campbell was watching this, he will have been on his feet, applauding.

Which shouldn’t be taken as a compliment.


And would it an appropriate moment to mention that if we had Grand Prix circuits where overtaking and reasonable ticket prices were the norm rather than a rare exception, one of two things would have happened yesterday?

Either spectators who’d had their fill of derring-do elsewhere in the race would have viewed the whole team orders concept rather more philosophically or Fernando Alonso would have effortlessly overtaken Felipe Massa on his own merits without a scrap of fuss.

Just a thought.


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