Adam Parr’s recent departure as Chairman of Williams Grand Prix Engineering is curious given that only a few weeks ago, Frank Williams was trumpeting Parr’s central role in the Williams’ succession plan.
That the resignation has come with little explanation (if any) is even more curious – even media coverage of the story has been perfunctory at best.
So why Adam’s sudden renunciation? As a former a Chairman’s assistant at Rio Tinto, much has been made of Parr’s lack of “racing credentials”, though the foresight he brought was a major factor in ensuring Williams long-term financial future. Furthermore, Parr’s replacement, Nick Rose (Toto Wolff director and minority shareholder) doesn’t seem to offer any ancillary qualities that Parr was lacking.
Frank Williams was quoted at the time of Parr’s resignation as saying he sought “a better balance in his life”. What this means exactly is open to interpretation, although Frank has always deferred to Bernie Ecclestone (and profited handsomely as a result). Ecclestone himself is not an Adam Parr fan, and has been ruputed on numerous occasions to be resentful of Parr’s suggestions on how Formula 1 should be run.
Add to this mix a new Concorde agreement (agreeing to a new division of regulations and revenues between the teams) which is about to be signed and you can see Frank’s state of mind. Why risk antagonizing Bernie and lose a potential share in profits at a time when Williams own financial stability has a large interest in the ailing heath of a South American dictator – Williams driver Pastor Maldonado’s fee of 30-odd million dollars being bank-rolled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
So has Frank cut off his nose in exchange for a short-term budgeting cocoon and political stability, or has Bernie given him an offer he can’t refuse? Ecclestone himself is no spring-chicken and whatever handshakes have taken place are by no means certainties after he’s gone.