Exclusive Q&A with Williams' Adam Parr 23 Sep 2009
Leaving aside their miserable performance at the last race in Monza, Williams have enjoyed a highly respectable track record this season, with Nico Rosberg scoring 30.5 points. With the FW31 boasting far greater consistency than its 2008 predecessor, the overwhelming feeling in the British team is one of optimism. CEO Adam Parr is certainly satisfied with progress and is looking forward to a rosy 2010 - even if hes not giving away too much away about driver and engine deals
Q: Adam, the season could have been so good for the team, and yet its proved rather dissatisfying. At what point did you feel things started to go awry?
Adam Parr: Well, actually the season started with a car that was very competitive and that has been sustained. We have developed the car a lot this year, and I think it is as competitive today as it was in Melbourne. Spa and Monza have been difficult for us, although we got away in Spa with a decent result. Overall, what weve been very happy with is the consistency of the car. If you look back at previous years weve been fantastic on street circuits but at places like Barcelona, Silverstone, Spa in the old days weve been nowhere. This year has been much more consistent. Weve had a car in Q3 all but two times this year so weve put in a very consistent performance. But what has been missing from Melbourne is finishing the job. I think that the team as a whole has not nailed the points that we could have done race after race. Thats been dissatisfying.
Q: Nico has put on a good show, scoring in ten out of 13 races, but unfortunately Kazuki Nakajima hasnt scored at all so far. Every point in the constructors championship means money, which is especially important for a private team. How difficult is it to in effect race with only one car?
AP: Let me be clear: we are running two cars. Its correct that Kazuki has not scored a point so far. To be fair to him on a couple of occasions we have let him down with pit stops, and on a couple of occasions he was a bit unlucky, so it would not be fair to say that we are a one-car team. Kazuki is doing a lot for the team - he is pushing Nico as well. I can see one or two of the other teams where the second driver is an irrelevance or has been earlier this season, but Kazuki has not been like that. He is contributing and he contributes as well to Nico. Yes, it is very frustrating for him and for us that he hasnt scored any points, but we are a team and everybody is contributing.
Q: For 2010 a lot things seem to be undecided for Williams right now. You are looking for a new engine supplier and Nicos contract finishes at the end of the season. What would be your dream scenario? Nico staying, a Mercedes engine and Hulkenberg as second driver? Or what?
AP: I think my dream is that we come out next year with a car that is similar or even more competitive than we had this year, with many of the same good qualities of this years car like consistency. Secondly, that we have two drivers who can realize the full potential of the car in all conditions. Next year we will have many changes that will be very challenging for the drivers. Thirdly, aside from having a competitive car, also having a competitive engine. Then, as a team, operationally and strategically we need to finish the job. All I want to do is keep the things that we are doing well and improve the things that we need to do better. In regards to an engine supplier we are very close in finalizing our plans for next year and you will understand that I will not drop a name. Regarding the driver line-up I dont want to make any comment, as this is always a subject where there is nothing really helpful that you can say. The only thing that I can say is that we are full of praise for Nico.
Q: Nico wants to go for the title in 2010. He feels ready for it. Do you think you can offer him a package that would convince him to stay? How far along is the development of the 2010 car?
AP: Like everybody we are working very hard on next years car. Its not such a big change as it was this year but there is a lot of work to do. But we are also pushing flat out on this years car right up to Abu Dhabi. We are not taking our foot off the pedal. Can we give a driver a competitive package next year? I believe we can. Absolutely.
Q: Some years ago Williams had to come to terms with a BMW decision, just as the Sauber team are at the moment
AP: Well, we have seen that they are providing every assistance they can to Peter Sauber to put together an entry for next year. Regarding the way they pulled out, I have to tell you something - I have been working in big organisations and when they make a decision to start, they really start. And when they make the decision to stop, they really stop. I think what Honda did was actually quite remarkable. All credit to them. Flexibility and being patient and waiting for things is not first nature to a big company because in such a climate they make big decisions, and very often in a large company, its not so much the execution of a decision but being decisive and making bold decisions that really sets the strategy. If you run a global business, employing a massive number of people, you dont need to think about the subtleties of Formula One.
Q: There have already been some pretty severe budget cuts for this season, but how is the budget situation for 2010? Many sponsors are looking at restricting their marketing spend. How is the situation at Williams?
AP: As we said before, we are in a very stable situation. Ninety percent of our sponsorship this year carries on. We have very loyal partners and most of our partners only signed up for 2009/2010 at the end of 2008, in the middle of the crisis, so they knew what they were doing. They are very committed and very loyal, so we have a period of stability. And given the evidence that the world economy is improving and given the fact that Formula One is getting its act together, I feel very confident that new sponsors will come through for next year and the year after. And I hope that is also true for my competitors.