We are full of praise for the generally outstanding work that the BBC does in its coverage of the many goings on in the world, and in particular the investment it makes – as a taxpayer-funded broadcaster – in producing its F1 broadcasts and Top Gear.
We reported during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that the three hosts from Top Gear – Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond – were spotted at various events during the weekend with their film crews in tow.
It’s almost certain that some of the footage they captured will be used in the upcoming seventeenth series of the show – set to premiere its first episode sometime in June – and a sample of the footage was aired in the run-up to the Monaco Grand Prix coverage on the BBC’s broadcast of the race.
The footage given to viewers was of the three hosts lapping the Monte Carlo circuit with three famous passengers: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, and former Renault F1 principal Flavio Briatore.
That’s correct. The Flavio Briatore who was implicated in the ‘Crashgate’ scandal from the Singapore Grand Prix and given a lengthy ban from any involvement in motorsport in the wake of the damage he did to the sport’s image.
The wisdom of the BBC’s decision-makers to include this man of questionable integrity – no doubt Bernie had something to do with this, given that he and Flav are close mates – has got to be questioned. To include him risks giving this message that the sport cares little for your past sins and will welcome you back with open arms, provided of course you have friends in high places.
What value is this adding to the image of the sport? We would struggle to quantify this at all…
The next thing we’ll be seeing is someone offering Nelson Piquet Jr a drive, no doubt justifying it that he was simply a victim in the entire fiasco.
The sport has already welcomed the return of Pat Symonds and Mike Coughlan, two men who served lengthy periods in purgatory for their roles in the ‘Crashgate’ and ‘Spygate’ cheating scandals of past years.
But Briatore was the ringleader in the entire ‘Crashgate’ fiasco, and it’s perhaps too soon for him to be welcomed back by the sport whose reputation he so nearly obliterated.
One wonders what the BBC was thinking in giving him the air time he certainly does not deserve.
[Images via Zimbio]