F1 Winter Break
Williams heir-apparent Adam Parr quits team
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Mar 2012   |  10:44 am GMT  |  68 comments

Williams has been forced into another change of senior management after its chairman Adam Parr announced on Monday that he is quitting the team after over five years.

The unexpected news was delivered early on Monday morning, with team owner Sir Frank Williams pointing to Parr’s desire to achieve “a better balance in his life” for the decision to cut his ties with Grove which stretch back to 2006. Former CFO of alcoholic drinks firm Diageo Nick Rose will take over as non-executive chairman with Parr’s leaving date set as this coming Friday (March 30).

After joining the team as CEO, Parr quickly established himself as a trusted lieutenant of Williams and was credited with putting the team on a surer financial footing before being chosen by the team’s founder to succeed him as chairman of the company in July 2010. Last year Parr oversaw the major restructure of the team’s technical department and its historic floatation on the Frankfurt stock market. Only last month in an interview with F1 Racing did Williams describe the trained lawyer as his heir apparent: “If for whatever reason I couldn’t come in to do my job, Adam would fill the gap.”

However, that expected passing of the baton will now not happen after Monday’s announcement. Williams says they part on good terms and thanked him for his contribution to the team’s history.

“I asked Adam to join Williams at the end of 2006 to support me in the running of our team,” he said. “Over five years, Adam’s achievements have surpassed my expectations and I must thank him for his service. Not least for the decisive role he played in the technical changes made last year which are beginning to show through in the team’s improved competitiveness this season, and for leading this company to a successful IPO.

Williams and Parr

“Adam leaves us on good terms to pursue a better balance in his life for which I wish him and his family well. He has left us in good shape and I have every confidence that the Board and senior management team at Williams will continue to drive the business forward into a promising future.”

After experiencing the worst season in their long and illustrious history last year, Williams have begun this season in much improved form and Bruno Senna’s sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Malaysian GP mean they already have three more points than they achieved in the whole of last season.

Parr, whose time at the team has also coincided with a period of diversification into areas away from F1 including hybrid technology base in Qatar, said: “I am very grateful to Frank for giving me the opportunity to work for Williams over the past five years – a period that has been both challenging and rewarding. Williams is a unique team with over 500 great-hearted and talented people and many superb partners in and out of Formula One. Williams is now set up to move forward and I wish everyone at Grove well.”

The team say that Frank Williams will continue to oversee the company with the support of minority shareholder Toto Wolff, CEO Alex Burns and the rest of the board.

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Exodus of good people in the last year, I'm not sure if this matters to the race results too much, but it is lucky that Williams are doing much better this year, or you would have to say something about escaping a sinking ship.


OK I said good, I don't know anything about him, I should have said key people.


Agreed, he definitely was 'key'.


I would not class Parr as a 'good' person. The guy's monumental arrogance and dismassal of fans' concerns over the SKY deal will not be forgotten by many with whom I regularly chat.


Agreed, he's (deservedly) unpopular among fans.


'lucky' ?


Nick Rose was CFO, not CEO of Diageo.


That's what the article says??


OMG!!! What a shocker, yes they say when it rains, it pours.

Just when you think you have laid out your best laid plans, life throws you a curve ball.

Now with Frank Williams & Adam Parr leaving, the company is now left in the hands of a total stranger just when the ship was beginning to float again ---> Not good.

Hopefully, Adam Parr is telling the truth that he's trying to get a better balance in his life with the Missus & the kids (piecuar timing) for this decision smacks to me as that of the first officer abandoning ship because the Captain is set to retire out of loyalty or something.

Hopefully the new CEO (from Diageo no less) will bring in the sponsors from his former employers so Williams can get rid of their pay drivers at least have one top up and coming star in one of their seats.


Frank williams isn't leaving.


Could he be leaving for a bigger team? Are Ferrari calling?


I think this is likely. He has excellent business knowledge and has led Williams through a period of incredible off track financial growth.

A bigger team will certainly look at that. So I expect an appointment soon. If not Ferrari then perhaps one of the very ambitious privateer teams, to lead them to IPO?


Seems unlikely to me Parr was brought in to diversify Williams products away from F1 to me he always something of a fish out of water with a clear focus on finances and profits. He was often in conflict with the F1 establishment and the fans but then again Parr has produced results on the finance side, William's finances are on the up and the technical team is finally building fast cars again. He might be a good fit for Caterham or Genii who are looking to make money from heavily F1 related products but really it's more than likely he'll be off to a competitor in one of the side projects that he's helped develop hence the hasty exit.


is that you Adam??? nice self reference if so! worth a punt 🙂


His expertise is finance!! why would ferrari need him??? doh!! very far from what there issues are.


But on that don't be surprised to see him appear at one of the up and coming minnows!


Obviously Sir Frank had no idea this would happen as it was very recently he told the media that Parr was effectively his heir apparent.

Very strange, was there a disagreement with Sir Frank or the rest of the board ?

Or perhaps he's just had a better offer.

After all, unlike most people at Williams, Racing is not in Parr's bloodstream.


In reallity I would imagine this would probably boil down to the relatively non impressive thus far performance of the company on the stock market and it being more than likely Parr's idea to float the company!


Having spent a lot of time in the F1 Paddock (last year in particular) I can't say that I know of a single person in the paddock who actually liked him or the way he operated.

He wasn't a racer, nor even a particularly good man manager. He was quite proficient at strategising the Williams business but that is about it.

I also know of at least one driver he screwed over trying to get somewhere in motorsport... (put simply, he pinched the drivers budget in its entirety and then handed him a duff F2 drive for his troubles.)

Good riddance.



I never quite liked his comments on F1, FOTA, new media, etc


Good riddance indeed, I have no inside knowledge, but nothing you have claimed here suprised me in the slightest. And I will not forget the cavalier way he dismissed fans' concerns over the SKY deal by effectively saying 'tough, go cry somewhere else'.


So what's this about James?


read "the mole" - Bernie didn't like him, Frank is loyal to Bernie (he made him very rich indeed), what Bernie wants, Bernie gets..



In all the articles I've read recently about "the majority of Teams" agreeing to some Terms in a new Concorde Agreement, I didn't read the Williams Team on the list. Any connection to today's event? Regarding the Years of loyalty to FIA Formula One Racing by Frank and his Team, I'd expect a sweet deal for them as it would be deserved. Perhaps Parr misplayed his hand, got nothing for the Team and got let go by Frank in the process?

Alanis Morissette

If the statement about 'pursuing a better balance in his life' is true, and it's not a stock market led place-a-chosen-one-at-the-top, then that's a superb reason to leave. It's a good example to everyone to enjoy life.




strange timing very strange


Clearly he found a better vocation elsewhere. Perhaps he'll even resurface with FOM for all we know. He did oversee a float, engine deals, sponsorship, etc. Perfect inside the team training for an FOM position.


I agree, there is obviously more to this than what is being reported, as CEO/Chairpersons sadly do not step down due to "family reasons". They are usually highly driven individuals who place their worth on positional and corporate success and Parr is no different. I suggest he will pop up soon either with one of the other teams or with FOM.


FOM? Does Bernie like him?


It doesn't matter if Bernie likes him or not - Bernie is all business, through and through. If he hated the bloke but thought he could make Bernie another billion he would hire him in a heartbeat.

I am with CerinoDevoti on this - I think he has stuffed up the approach to the new Concorde Agreement and screwed the result for Williams so had to go. Might reappear with a smaller team but only if they can deal with his monumental arrogance. Wouldn't be a loss to the sport and there are better ways to run the business side of things.


Whoa - wait a minute. Back this bus up a moment. Didn't James already tell us in his piece on the teams agreeing terms to a new agreement that this places FOM in an ideal position to float and/or sell of some of the business? Hasn't Parr been there and done that already? Didn't Bernie get embroiled in a scandal with the last deal and have to appear in court? If you were to do it again who would you want in your corner? Someone with monumental arrogance but knows how to get the job done professionally, legally and for the best terms? Doesn't Parr fit that job description? Timing might seem obvious now.


James, I think that there is more to this story behind the scenes than 'family /work balance'. That is a PR line.

Normally if a CEO leaves in those circumstances for a family balance, a hand over period is managed and they would have talked it over previously with the company, it wouldn't be a Monday morning surprise, Parr would of had a farewell this weekend at the Malaysian GP to the paddock.

I believe he is not permanentley leaving the F1 paddock an has signed an agreement with another F1 team and will return in a few months.

I don't think Parr is being 100% honest.


Surely if he had signed an agreement with another team there would be a period of 'gardening leave', probably for the rest of the season as a minimum.

The short notice of the departure is odd, it does show something is up, but I gather he isn't exactly popular with the other teams and his record at Williams isn't great so I suspect any move is outside the sport.


See my response to Seebee's original post (number 12). Might not be outside of the sport.


i think that story line would have been used to decently image all involved as best possible inc the Team as such and in particular its stock market position/value as it does not look like the idea has faired as well as hoped.

Desperate measures and all that!! and alongside that there might just be that pending majority take over pending that i previously spoke about, some possible buyers would not require parr's field of expertise by a long shot.

VW group calling????


What strange timing. A week and a day into the new season. Why not go in the off-season? Curiouser and curiouser...


The off-season is quiet to you and me, but the teams don't really have an off-season. It's one of the busiest times of year for them.

I don't think you can read into the timing of it, but if you did, surely you'd say this is a reasonable quiet time to go when the year's sponsorship and contracts have all been signed off.


Franks statement about Parr been his heir must of made Parr think about his role with WF1 and decided it wasnt for him.

Hopefully this new soul will be able to understand what it takes to move Williams to the front of the gird.Out of all the teams I would want them there fighting


Since we are all only speculating...

I would say, with as much certainty as any of us can have, that this must be related to negotiations with the Commercial Rights Holder et al.

This is the major issue for all teams, and really a life or death issue for some teams.

Summing up rumors (See Adam Cooper's twitter today, and some comments above) Parr was not well liked.

If no one likes you and you screw up a the biggest negotiation of your career (or if you feel that your boss's obstinance prevents you from succeeding in that same negotiation), you leave.

I would say that this is an either/or situation: Option 1 - Parr screwed up. Option 2 - Parr realized that he had a title but no authority because, push comes to shove, Frank does what he wants - even if what Frank wants, in Parr's estimation, is going to sink the team.


Since we are indeed all just speculating in a void of information, *my theory is Space Aliens.

Yes. Space Aliens have hired him to run *their entry into F1. They are to shortly buy HRT and inject new Alien technology into it. There will be materials that Charlie Whiting cannot even spell.

3-car-Monte will, ofc complain bitterly and rejoin FOTA to fight them off.

Stay tuned.


I reckon that's a pretty accurate assessment of the situation there.

What's the bet Parr had some financial gain from a deal that was thwarted and hence he threw in the towel/spat the dummy?


Mr. E said a majority of teams reach agreement before the race, then Adam Parr leave suddenly.

what happen next will be Mr. E announce all teams have signed the new Concorde Agreement.

then, end of story.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Rubens will be smiling


I couldn't agree more 🙂

It was my first thought by the time I've seen the news

The conspiracist

Frank if your reading this, drop me an email or text, as I'm getting bored at Ford 😉


The guy has no clue about Formula One. Perhaps from the wider business point of view losing him is bad news, but for the Williams Formula One team it's good news!


I'm really surprised by this news. In a way I'm quite glad - I never really like Parr that much as he always just seemed a bit too business like, impersonal ...well too much like a lawyer, in short! I did not relish the idea of him taking charge of the team. I'm really surprised by the timing though, given Williams' strong start to the season, and Frank's recent words about him. I'm sure there is much more to this story yet to come...

On another note - does anyone know the stats for most overtakes in Malaysia? Because Bruno Senna was at the back of the field at the restart and finished in 6th - great drive from him, really showing Maldonado how to overtake 🙂



Are you aware or the controlling shares percentages (approx) and who has dibs on them as if it was not a case of a falling out over the team going on the stock market?

I wonder if Parr has been caught in the middle of a coup to try and gain control of the team for himself or someone else in particular on the cheap so to speak through accumulation of majority shares???

Something's defo up within the internals of the Team structure and i would think its near certain to be related to the stock exchange.

Adrian Newey Jnr

Resources are booming at the moment. Perhaps he sees better pay at his former employer Rio Tinto?

tom in adelaide

He'll transition smoothly back into the world of boardrooms and golden handshakes. Love him or hate him, he's going to have a very successful career.


My thoughts are that he has succeded in putting williamsF1 in the right position on and off the grid. The financial position of the team has been sorted including the flotation of the company, and the restructure of the technical department which was also his responsibility has been a success and therefore in his mind and the important people in his life, his job is done. And unlike traditional CEOs who leave their company mid-term, he has left Williams in the best shape they have been in many years. Shows great integrity and character from the man. Not often seen in todays business world.


Seriously? Away from Formula One, you may be right, but in the last five years, under Parr's leadership, they've gone completely the wrong direction. Almost in danger of being one of the bottom feeders and irrelevant. They're stuck with two pay drivers (in fact one Venezuelan contract away from disaster), and it remains to be seen if the flotation or new technical team is a success or not.


Frank & patrick relised after (newey-bmw cock ups)that they were racers not buisness men.they brought in parr to play hardball and he delivered.roundly unliked he may be he leaves the team in good shape and will move up in the greed game.more than likley wont make any differance to the race team!


I wonder if it was all down to politics, not Bernie but the other team principles.

In 2009 Parr with Williams and Force India were suspended from FOTA because they signed an agreement with Bernie to confirm they would race. Parr said they had no choice being bound by contract and being a pure racing company had no other options.

Roll forward, FOTA try and hold out for more money from Bernie and suddenly you find most of the teams have bolted for the door behind the scenes to do a deal. I wonder if Parr had decided to stay true to FOTA to find everyone else has sold out.

No doubt over a period of time a better picture will emerge and probably to Parr's credit.

FOTA must be toast now as well.


Force India are the team i would put him as most likely to appear at next.


parr never struck me as a 'car' guy


nor 'car'ing for the fans 🙂

parr for the course



Could you shed any lights that one of the reasons why Parr has left? Was it because he did not want to sign the Concorde agreement while Frank did?


Parr once said, " he makes fun of everything", so don't take him so seriously .


If he was going to succeed Bernie would he announce his departure and no other news? It all looks a bit strange, but nothing with Bernie behind it should surprise us. My money would be on him succeeding Bernie.


I suspect we will be reading a salacious story in The Sun or similar very soon.

He got a long interview on Sky last week and I am wondering if someone spotted him. Normally you don't see him.

He definitely sounded to me (speaking as a gay person) as someone who liked a bit of musical theatre, shall we say, when he was interviewed. Apparently he is happily married with kids. Wouldn't be the first time is all I'm saying!


Um, this isn't the 1980s any more. I wouldn't have thought there was any mileage in such a story these days, unless it was an MP or similar person actively preaching family values.

Yes, yes, obviously I remember Max's difficulties, but they were a bit more out there, plus there was the unfounded Nazi thing to contend with (which was their justification for publishing it).

So I think that it would have to be a lot more than what you're suggesting for any tabloid to take an interest nowadays.

I go with the Concorde negotiations theory, myself...


Very informative comment. Could you further enlighten us on what it has to do with running an f1 team?

Stone the crows

I think Parr was the victim of a power play.

Ecclestone had little time for Parr, who was one of the few within the sport who dared to criticise him.

Crid [CridComment at gmail]

Parr had the kind of audacity that promised to be an important component of F1's success in the next forty years. The problem is that Bernie was still around for the first of those years, and he's more audacious than anyone. Mr. E has been an essential blessing for the franchise, but once again he's cleared away an aggressive younger talent we might have looked to as a successor. It would be great to see Parr turn up at another team... But it seems terribly unlikely while the Supremo stalks the paddock.

I wish one of Bernie's daughters had his head for business, and was less concerned about lunching with Paris Hilton.


Was anything more revealed about Parr's departure? What's the latest? (I mean, besides Pastor's predilection for puncturing Pirellis!)


Any news on Mr. Parr? That connection with Qatar, as all of WGPE come since the days of Charlie Chrighton-Stuart and the Saudia deal. Qatar has a big Williams (Parr?) operation even with a simulator.

How about the Hamilton option with WGPE? Expires soon and he is assured a very lucrative deal arranged by XIX; Sir Frank is willing to spend big on a top rated driver, and so he should, it is one of the best chassis around.

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