F1: Passe Cites “Challenged” Integrity and Leaves USF1

What Happens When the News Keeps Getting Worse

12:02am EST — In continued drama for USF1, Dan Passe, a public relations representative for the team, has left the team’s employ, complete with a parting-shot post on his consulting company’s blog entitled “Integrity is not everything, it’s the only thing.”  The former Penske Racing Director, Marketing and Communications, and longstanding racing PR man with a law degree, noted that,

The definition of integrity is “a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.”
Integrity is how we should live our lives and how we conduct business. Unfortunately I, and I’m sure you, have come across clients, co-workers and acquaintances where integrity is a four-letter word.
Life is too short to deal with people who don’t have integrity, who don’t have character or the moral fiber to do what’s right and treat people fairly.
Am I preaching at you? Perhaps, but it comes from the heart and my own experiences.
Recently I found myself in a position with a client where my integrity was not only challenged, but being chipped away at. Not only from inside the company, but by those who are industry observers and commentators.

While he did not mention USF1 directly, he wrote “I wouldn’t return phone calls or emails, even from longtime friends, because I didn’t want to answer questions about this client’s ability to do business (yes, you’ve probably read about it although it won’t be mentioned here).”  Less than a week ago, and right around the time Ken Anderson publicly admitted to the New York Times that the team had requested the ability to miss the first four races of the season, Passe was tweeting his excitement about “seeing everyone at Barber [for the IndyCar test session there last week]. Been too long!”  As of late, his tweets have seemed to come from a man with less weight on his shoulders. His post continued, saying,

I was in a personal quandary, which came to a head last weekend. Give up a once-decent client and try to find more business? Or stick with this client, for better or worse, hoping that my integrity will survive intact, or as intact as possible? Was it worth going through the muck to hope that I would end up clean on the other side?
After some soul searching and discussions with my ever-understanding wife, the answer became clear. Integrity, professional and personal, would take precedence. Money is important, survival even more so, but to what end? Could I look at myself in the mirror every morning, anticipating the excitement of each day? No. Did I want to see this client successful? Sure, but there is a proper way of obtaining success, and their way wasn’t working.
So I resigned. And the weight lifted.

The weight certainly has lifted, with his most recent tweet (barring the tweet Monday that announced this blog post) saying, “Nothing like a solid day at a buddy’s vintage car shop to refresh the love for cars!”

Passe’s post adds to the dour news we have heard coming from within the team as of late.  While I would have dearly loved to have seen the team compete well and eventually win, I have had to write report after report about the team’s inability to compete this season, including yesterday’s article that they have asked the FIA to defer their 2010 entry to the 2011 season.  We could speculate ad nauseum about what, precisely, challenged Passe’s integrity.  I doubt that it was some nefarious plot by some member of the team.  From the PR standpoint, it was likely more about his opposition to the, in my opinion, bad media strategy implemented by the team.  In the end, as it certainly seems to be, there are ever fewer people connecting themselves to the team we all once hoped would live up to its promise to bring the US to Formula1.
[posted from the author’s previously published work at Formula1Blog]


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