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Ecclestone hits back at Parr

NEWS STORY
04/07/2011

Over the past few weeks a war of words has been quietly developing between Williams' chairman Adam Parr and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. It doesn't take a genius to work out who is going to come out on top.

First, Parr openly challenged Ecclestone's running of F1 by saying "the problem is that our total TV revenues as a sport are less than $500 million. By comparison, the NFL is $4.2 billion and Turkish soccer is a little bit more than us. I think it's time that we challenge [Ecclestone]."

It was a remarkable comment for Parr to make for several reasons. Only a few years ago Williams was paid an advance on its prize money by Ecclestone so one wonders why on earth Parr thinks it makes sense to "challenge" the hand that feeds. Let's hope for the team's sake that it doesn't need any more advances from Ecclestone since he may, quite understandably, not be too inclined to assist after this little episode.

Parr's comments seemed to be an astonishing case of the pot calling the kettle black since Williams' own track record is chequered to say the least. The team has made combined net losses of £1.7m since Parr joined in November 2006 and at the end of last year it lost six sponsors including British bank RBS. Williams floated in Frankfurt in March and its share price has since fallen by 28%. It goes into this week's British Grand Prix with just 4 points compared to championship leader Red Bull Racing's 295. Indeed, Williams' racing performance has been so bad that last month Parr offered to resign.

Parr stayed on and it seems he has his eye on a bigger picture. In last week's Independent newspaper he was quoted saying that the F1 teams are in "early stage" talks about acquiring a minority stake in the sport. Ironically, Parr's comments have now been shot down in the very same paper in an article written by Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt.

Responding to Parr's comments that the teams may buy a stake in F1, Ecclestone says "very few of them have got enough money to run their teams [let alone buy a stake in F1]. They have a say now and if they were shareholders they wouldn't have a bigger say.

"Adam is a genius the way he runs his team," adds the F1 supremo. "There's no room on that car for any more sponsors."

Ouch!

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