Q & A with Williams's Adam Parr

Formula One has faced a remarkable week in the wake of Honda's withdrawal from the sport. The early fears of other car manufacturers calling it quits have, however, now been replaced by fresh optimism about the future

Q & A with Williams's Adam Parr

A breakthrough meeting to introduce cost-cutting measures took place in Monaco on Wednesday, with new regulations set to be rubber-stamped by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday.

Williams CEO Adam Parr is one man who is excited about what is happening in the sport, despite the challenges his team face. So autosport.com caught up with him at the Monaco Business Forum shortly after he gave a speech on stage calling for radical change in the sport.

Q. You said in your speech at the Monaco Business Forum today that Williams wanted change in Formula One. But your team has one of the smallest budgets in F1, and change costs money. So what is your rationale behind it?

Adam Parr: I don't agree that change costs money. We have to perfect the car, whatever the rules are. It is better to have a broader set of opportunities to innovative and try and improve your competitive position, than be caught in a trap where everyone is developing but there is a boiled-in differential from the front to where we are. The new rules for 2009 give us the opportunity to address that.

Q. There has not been big regulation change for many years now, but you've said the racing is closer than it has ever been. So is there a conflict there?

AP: I didn't say the racing is closer, I said the performance of the cars is closer. I don't think the racing is any closer than it has been in the past. The fact is that in a dry race we only have about four overtaking manoeuvres per race.

There are issues like reliability, driver error, driver fitness, the precision of strategy and predictability of the tyres. These factors make people much more confident they can execute their strategy much more precisely. Nobody runs out of fuel these days. I am not saying there has been more overtaking in the past, but I don't think there has been significantly less.

Q. Do you believe there will be a lot more overtaking next year there?

AP: Well, it is interesting. What would make there be more overtaking? There is only one fundamental way that you can overtake, and that is when the car behind is faster than the car in front - or the driver in front makes a mistake. What could help us next year is that the field may be wider apart, so if there is a problem in qualifying, or at the start, or there is a mess up at the front, then someone gets behind but they have a much faster car. We've seen that happen many times in the past - remember the classic of Suzuka 2005, or even Monza this year with some of the drivers.

If you want overtaking, a faster car/driver combination has got to be further back. The new rules may create that possibility, but the conundrum of F1 is that if the cars qualify in the order of car/driver capability, and it is quite difficult to overtake on many of our circuits then you won't get much overtaking full stop.

Q. Can you clarify your recent comments where you said you expected another team to disappear?

AP: My intention in saying that was that in this environment you cannot rule out the possibility of someone who is in Formula One for primarily marketing purposes, they look at the cost/benefit ratio and says it doesn't make sense any more. However, that doesn't mean that I know of a team who are thinking of leaving. I think yesterday's meeting will go a long way to addressing this. As far I am concerned everybody who is in Formula One today is fully intending to be in F1 in the future. I think what we achieved yesterday in terms of a clear pathway to reduce costs will make a huge difference.

Q. So Honda was just an extreme case in your opinion?

AP: Yes, and maybe it was just bad luck on timing. Maybe if we were six months down the road with these cost savings initiatives, and maybe if Ross and his team had come out with a better car next year and there was a clear way to reduce cost, then maybe Honda will have said we will stay in.

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Parr: New cost cuts will keep teams in F1

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