Bernie Ecclestone’s next headache could be in the form of former Williams chairman Adam Parr, according to a report in the German language Speed Week.
Earlier this year, Briton Parr – Williams’ de-facto team principal – suddenly quit. His shock departure from the famous team and the sport was met with cynicism, as it coincided with the end to an impasse with F1’s chief executive over Williams’ stalled Concorde Agreement negotiations.
We reported in March that Parr never saw eye-to-eye with Ecclestone. The Telegraph hinted at the time that he “was the victim of a power play”, while Speed Week journalist Peter Hesseler has now gone one step further. He repeated rumours that “a former team official” could be set to commence legal action against Ecclestone, because the F1 chief executive earlier this year threatened to call off Concorde Agreement negotiations if he didn’t quit.
Writing in Speed Week, Hesseler said the unnamed team official is almost certainly Parr.
Sir Frank Williams has revealed he is back at the helm at his famous British F1 team.
Although still the major shareholder and team principal, the now 70-year-old had taken a step back at the Oxfordshire based team, including stepping down from the board. He had expressed great faith in the abilities of Adam Parr, but Williams’ chairman surprised the F1 world by resigning early this season. Williams told F1’s official website on Wednesday that he is now back in charge.
“Well, I have to say that it is sad Adam Parr didn’t achieve what we would have liked together, after all that he did,” the team’s founder and long-time chief said. “So when he left it was left to me to step back into that position,” added Williams, who had handed over the chairmanship to Parr in 2010.
The team suffered arguably its lowest low last year, but Williams has been back in the winner’s circle in 2012, Pastor Maldonado winning from pole in Spain.
“Adam Parr – to his credit – played a significant role in his all too short time with the team,” Frank Williams continued. “I am very sad that he left as he is a terribly clever man who took on two or three key people, like Mike Coughlan for instance, and some key people in engineering, and that makes all the difference. We do see that,” he said.
As ever, in the complex and political world of F1, the press has reacted with cynicism to the news Adam Parr is leaving Williams.
After all, it had emerged in Malaysia that the famous British team was one of only a few yet to agree terms with Bernie Ecclestone over the 2013 Concorde Agreement. And Chairman Parr – who was Williams’ de-facto team principal at races in Sir Frank Williams’ regular absence – had never seen eye-to-eye with F1’s indomitable chief executive.
Moreover, as Tom Cary wrote in the Telegraph, there had been “no indication” of Parr’s stepping down: indeed, quite the opposite was true.
Parr said this month that he “could not imagine doing anything else”, while Williams earlier this month described the former Rio Tinto man as his “natural successor”.
Telegraph correspondent Cary said “sources suggest he was the victim of a power play”, adding that Parr’s new absence and the Concorde talks seem “far from coincidental”.
“Ecclestone had little time” for Parr, the journalist added, continuing that he was “one of the few within the sport who dared to criticise him”.
Ecclestone, moreover, last month criticised Williams’ recent restructuring, including the departure of Sam Michael and arrival of Mike Coughlan.
“I don’t think they’ve done it the right way,” said the F1 supremo. “The changes should have come from above, not from below. “I think people like (shareholder) Toto Wolff should get more control.”
The Independent newspaper this week agreed that the timing of Parr’s exit “seems a bit strange”. And the Guardian acknowledged that he had had “an edgy relationship” with Ecclestone.