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GP Week : Issue 147
The F1 world was caught by surprise last week when the Williams F1 team announced the near-immediate departure of Williams Grand Prix Holdings plc Chairman Adam Parr, who had been widely thought of as the heir apparent to team founder Sir Frank Williams. The press release confirming Parr’s departure was issued when the bulk of the circus was 32,000 feet above the earth’s surface, returning to their far-flung homes from a dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. Little information pertaining to the cause of Parr’s resignation was offered, and the rumour mill went spinning. Given that it was under Parr’s oversight that the Williams F1 team was able to turn a terrible 2011 into what looks as though it will be a successful 2012, his departure was all the more puzzling. While it is not GPWEEK’s form to indulge in rumour-mongering, some of the stories that did the rounds were incredible – Parr had left to become a Venezuelan drug lord, Parr had broken Claire Williams’ heart after a secret affair and been sent packing by Sir Frank as a consequence. But while the full truth of the matter will only be known by Parr and his former employers in Grove, enough details have emerged that F1 insiders have been able to piece together a credible sequence of events which has yet to be confirmed by the team. It is widely believed that Sir Frank and Parr argued over the role of the Williams team in the current round of Concorde Agreement negotiations, and that the two men held positions that were so incompatible that no compromise could be reached, leading to Parr’s high-speed departure. Sir Frank, it is thought, wanted to accept the terms offered by Bernie Ecclestone in the proposed Concorde Agreement, while Parr thought that by holding out Williams could get a better deal than the one first tabled by Bernie. It has long been in Ecclestone’s interests to dethrone Parr, who has been a thorn in the F1 supremo’s side ever since it was made clear that Sir Frank was grooming him for the eventual role of team boss. Parr and Ecclestone are ideologically opposed when it comes to the future governance and promotion of Formula One as both sport and brand, and were Parr given the opportunity to run the last great independent F1 team he would have been able to use the Williams legacy to demand a greater share of the F1 spoils from FOM. But by driving a wedge between Sir Frank and his heir apparent, Ecclestone has created a space that – with the right pressure and influence in the right ears, plus an added sweetener in the terms listed in the next Concorde – could be filled by a man (or woman) of his choosing. DEARLY DE-PARR-TED New Concorde led to disagreement? 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS