A day in the life of Francois Puentes

A day in the life of Francois Puentes,
Head of Marketing Services, Renault F1 Team

What’s your job responsibility?
I am responsible for all the marketing events, primarily off site and experiential, such as the F1 experience programme at Le Castellet, and delivery of the F1 demos. Also, I oversee the heritage side of our assets, so all the show cars we can use to support our partners’ activations.

Describe a typical day in your job?
My day is extremely varied. On the one side it can be very proactive, such as organising events with show cars or running F1 cars, repainting them and other events of which we have visibility during a calendar year. Then there are reactive events that could be happening at any point, which always keeps things exciting. Last year I travelled all over the world, preparing and executing many different types of projects.

How did you get the job?
I started in Enstone in 2012 when I began as a Senior Account Manager. This gradually shifted towards more of a marketing role around the inception of Renault F1 Team in 2016. This happened because I put together what was then coined a ‘special project’, which was to put an F1 car on a surf board to promote the new team livery ahead of the Australian GP.

What is your background and why did you take this job?
It’s an exciting job and I can make things my own in some ways, whilst obviously tapping into the resources across the various teams in house. The Star Wars activation is an example of this: Renault was celebrating 40 years of F1 and Star Wars was also celebrating its own 40th anniversary. Before you knew it, we had George Lucas in the pitlane at the Monaco GP for the race, promoting the co-anniversary. This event was a key factor in convincing me to pursue this career.

What is your most memorable moment…?
I will forever be proud of when we put Saudi Arabian, Aseel Al-Hamad, in an F1 car ahead of the French GP just a few hours before the race. It was the weekend that the driving ban was lifted for women in Saudi Arabia. There was immense support from Renault Corporate, F1 and also within the team, everybody bought into it and it was by far the most meaningful thing I’ve done.

The best part of your job then…?
The unpredictability, it’s fantastic. It keeps you on your toes and means you can express yourself in a creative way.

And the worst part of your job…?
Unpredictability again! Often with it there can be a lot of stress. The events and activations we put together are sometimes done in very short time frames. But I always say that the juice is worth the squeeze, and what is stressful can also be very exciting.

If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t in Sports Marketing, I would probably be a Lawyer, as that is what I was qualified to do by trade. I am happy I didn’t pursue this career though, but it does sometimes come in handy with the day to day job.

What do you do after work? How do you unwind?
My number one hobby is my kids, as I have two young children. The good thing about having kids is that you can come back from work thinking you’re the best thing in the world, but they don’t care about what activations or projects you’ve created as they want simple things like food and love. It’s quite humbling.

With lots of travel in your job, how do you deal with that?
I’ve been travelling a lot for the last 15 years, so I am quite used to it now. It’s a lifestyle, and I’ve got a very understanding wife. She also travels too which helps.

Do you have any tips/advice for those wanting to work in the industry?
Keep your integrity at all costs. It’s a glittery business and you need to keep your feet firmly on the ground. What is expected of you from a marketing perspective is to deliver and to not get carried away just because you’ve rubbed shoulders with celebrities. I consider the drivers as colleagues and nothing more.
Secondly, it’s important to maintain a solid work ethic. We work very long hours and it becomes a lifestyle, but on the other hand we’re very lucky to work in an industry that provides so much emotion.