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Farewell to Bradley

NEWS STORY
30/01/2008

When Renault launches its 2008 contender at its Corporate Communications HQ in Paris on Thursday, there will be one notable absentee.

Back at the French F1 team's British race HQ at Enstone, Senior Press Officer, Bradley Lord, will prepare the last of the press releases, deal with the many moans and groans from journalists eager for that little bit more, before walking out of his office for the last time. After just over seven years, Bradley is moving on.

He joined what was then Benetton in late 2001, and over those seven years he has seen many changes, not least two Drivers' and two Constructors' Championship victories for his team.

Sadly, and we talk from experience, good press officers are seemingly in short supply these days, with some teams opting for glamour over ability, youth over experience, wacky wit over facts and stats.

Thankfully, there are still a few good press officers out there, however, we won't embarrass them by naming them... we know who they are, they know who they are.

With Bradley, like all good press officers, nothing was ever too much trouble, you could call any time of day or night and he'd be there to assist you. Indeed, while some 'journalists' blindly chose to run with stories cut and pasted from elsewhere, good press officers are only too delighted when someone calls to check the facts.

In Bradley's case, the situation is helped by the fact that not only does he know his job, he is passionate about it, indeed, he is passionate about motorsport. He was also passionate about his team, quick to speak out when he believed it to be unfairly treated, misquoted or misrepresented. However, rather than an angry e-mail, phone call or consignment to the 'enemy of the state' database, he would discuss the matter objectively and intelligently - then again, what would one expect of a man who got a double-first at Oxford?

In addition to his work as Senior Press Officer, we believe Bradley went beyond the call of duty. Whereas as some press officers appear to see their roles as being reactive, Bradley was always proactive. While all teams have a web presence, Renault's is a shining example of how to interact with fans, how to promote the positives of the sport and the team.

One of the best examples of this is the blog run by the team, which saw Bradley often giving live updates during race weekends and tests, both in English and French.

The test session blog, in particular, was a master-class in how teams can - and should - interact with fans, furthermore it brought out Bradley's very best qualities.

Originally, fans could post messages without the need to register, which ended up with the sort of nonsense you usually find on the very worst forums, fan boys slagging off one team or driver whilst praising another, yet Bradley always kept his cool.

While trying to give the fans (live) updates on what was expected from the test, the subtle changes being made to the cars, the need for long runs and practice starts, he would be bombarded by countless requests for the latest lap times.

Time and time again, a post would appear, "what are the latest times?", followed by a similar request a few moments later. And when Bradley gave the times, barely a minute would pass before the next request, "what are the latest times?"

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