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GP Week : Issue 42
5 Minutes with ... ADAM PARR Quick witted, supremely intelligent and an all round top bloke, Williams F1 CEO Adam Parr took time out to talk to GPWeek editorWILL BUXTON GPWEEK: 2009 to date you’ve been quick in practice, quick in qualifying and quick in the races … you must be delighted with the start to the season. ADAM PARR: Yeah it is very exciting. I think the thing for me that is so good is to see the consistency between Melbourne and Malaysia, because if you look at recent past years we’ve been relatively competitive in Melbourne but then nowhere in Malaysia and Malaysia is more typical of the majority of circuits that we’ll be racing on this year. So that’s great for us. How much has the mood within the team lifted between last year and this? Do you know, with Williams people it’s impossible to tell … because they never smile [laughs]. Look, not everyone in the team is British but I think Frank and Patrick set the tone of a sort of grim determination, not really showing a lot of emotion either – pleasure or unhappiness – and people just get on with it. They’re very professional, very solid, and you have to prize them open like oysters to find if there’s anything going on inside emotionally. Is there a feeling within the team, though, that this could be a good season? No. I don’t think people think like that. I think what people are thinking is, okay, reasonable start; we know that it’s going to be absolutely full on this year; we’re expecting the highest pace of development probably in any season ever in Formula 1, and if we don’t keep up it doesn’t matter how you’ve started we’re going to end up nowhere. I think it’s more a question of saying how do we keep momentum and how do we keep developing? You were one of the first teams to run 2009 parts on your car in testing, how much did that help you guys to get a jump on the opposition? Well I think the ultimate example of that is Brawn. The earlier you start on a new set 18 of regulations the better. We didn’t start anywhere near as early as Brawn did but definitely the decision to divert resources to this year’s car mid-way through last year, I’m sure, has paid off. You mentioned Brawn, but they, you guys, Toyota and Red Bull are all looking good. Is this the new world order of Formula 1? I doubt it [grins]. The great thing about Formula 1 is that it’s so unpredictable. But, for me, seeing Toyota doing as well as they are is fantastic. We’ve got a lot of respect for them, they’re our engine partner, they’re very good people and it’s just very satisfying to see them feeling happy about where they are. With Brawn, one shouldn’t forget that Ross had a lot of resources over the last two years but, more importantly, they’ve done a very good job with it and I think it’s a wonderful story for Formula 1 isn’t it? It’s refreshing. And of course it shows that independent teams can still be successful in Formula 1. Well yes and we feel, and I think Ross feels that we have a lot in common these days. I just think the whole thing is so exciting. FOTA, FIA, the future … how’s it all working out? Well FOTA is, so far, in its nine months of existence, very cohesive and very clear. It has made some serious achievements. The teams, collectively, have never achieved a fraction of what FOTA has done in nine months. There is the unity but there have been some very big decisions which have meant compromises by people who are not used to compromising. We have taken a decent chunk of cost out in an intelligent way so far. I think it will be a big challenge in front of us to keep that going. It’s going to get harder and harder. As far as the FIA is concerned, I think the FIA is, as it always was, a very challenging organisation. I think Max [Mosley] has a great vision – just look at KERS and costs because he started a lot of this – and the thing about Max is he’s always one step ahead. He never compromises, so working with him is a challenge. It’s one of the tremendous features of Formula 1. Max’s concept of a budget cap – is that something Williams will consider? What does the future hold for the team? Well, in terms of budget capping as a principal, Williams is completely in favour of it and has been since day one. In terms of what Max has set out, what you’ve got to look at is this: he’s talked about two different worlds – a world where you have the current rules and unlimited spending, or a world where you have greater technical freedom but you have to limit your spending.