New Williams chairman Adam Parr keen to preserve legacy
By Ross Heaton
Parr has been working as acting chairman at Williams since March
The new chairman of the Grove-based Williams Formula 1 team, Adam Parr, says he is determined to safeguard their legacy in the sport.
Parr has been formally named chairman after a period acting in the role.
Team founder Sir Frank Williams will retain the final say on all team decisions but Parr will look after the day-to-day running of the company.
And Parr told BBC Oxford he is excited by the challenges ahead but aware of the responsibility he has been given.
He said: "I joined the team four years ago and over those years Frank has given me more and more responsibility. So it's been a very gradual process, which Frank has handled meticulously."
Frank and Patrick have run the team for 30 years, and I would like to do the same for another 20 or 30 years
But he admits the magnitude of what he is taking on is enormous.
"I like to use the analogy of a dog that sees a bus go past its house, jumps over the fence and grabs the bus by the exhaust pipe - then realises it has a 20 tonne vehicle attached to it. It is a big responsibility."
Parr has been with Williams as chief executive officer since 2006, having previously worked for Barclays Investment Bank and Rio Tinto, one of the world's leading mining companies.
Patrick Head, Sir Frank's long-time partner, will continue as director of engineering, taking charge of the technical side of the company, while Sir Frank himself will remain as team principal.
Parr said: "One of the challenges of any business run by its founders is working out how things go from the first generation to the next generation.
"Frank and Patrick have run the team for 30 years, and I would like to do the same for another 20 or 30 years - although I'm a bit older than they were when they first started."
One of the challenges is the sheer expense of being competitive in F1. Although attempts have been made by the governing body to reduce costs for teams, Parr says this has not made his job less challenging.
He said: "Although we are getting costs under control, revenues are also under a lot of pressure.
"We are just recovering from a very serious economic downturn. A lot of companies are conservative and cautious. Bringing in sponsorship revenue is challenging."
But, financial constraints aside, the new Williams chairman is cautiously optimistic over the sport's future health.
"F1 itself is going through a great phase with new races coming on. We have Korea this year, India next year and the United States in 2012.
"Our calendar is expanding and the revenues in the sport have more than doubled in the last five years."
Even so, he ends on a cautionary note.
"Costs have gone crazy in the last five years in Formula One.
"We are getting them under control now, but balancing the books the first job for anyone running a Formula One team."
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