Sports PR experts urge Renault to 'move on' from race-fixing allegations

Sports PR professionals have urged Renault to hold its hands up and 'move on quickly' following allegations that its Formula 1 team was involved in cheating.

Formula 1 race-fixing allegations: Renault
Formula 1 race-fixing allegations: Renault

The future of the team will be decided by the sport's governing body at a hearing today in Paris. The team has been accused of ordering Brazilian Nelson Piquet to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help Renault team mate Fernando Alonso win.
 
Renault announced that it would not contest the charges and last week Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds both stepped down.
 
Generate Sponsorship PR director Jonathan Neill said: ‘Renault's reputation has been dented due to the fixing allegation. It now has to move on quickly, accept its guilt and subsequent punishment, and install a new team which can develop integrity with the sport and its fans.'
 
He added: ‘The story was big news around the world and will damage the brand. No-one, whether it's a fan or a business, will like to position themselves with a brand accused of cheating. In the short term it will lose revenue and have a cloud over the team but over time, it will be hoping that the new look team will begin a new era for it in F1.'
 
Weber Shandwick head of media and co-head of sport Fiona McLachlan said: ‘After "Ferrarigate", it was good that Renault acted swiftly once the allegations were made public. However, the recovery of the brand, and reaction of its sponsors, will depend on any FIA punishment at the forthcoming hearing and more importantly if its investigations determine whether race fixing allegations are more widespread than initially thought.'

Braben director of sport Rachel Froggatt, who worked closely with Renault F1 in 2005/2006 commented: 'The departure of Briatore and Symonds was a clear signal that Renault wants to stay in the sport for the moment, at least until a buyer is found. If they survive today's hearing intact, I'd expect to see them move quickly to communicate their internal changes and commitment to technical excellence in order to start rebuilding their reputation and the commercial value of the team.' 

She added: 'If they are banned from F1 for a period of time, say the 2010 season, it's possible that you will see Renault quit the sport entirely and revert to rebuilding the global corporate brand instead.'

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