Williams man warns that a manufacturer could quit


Williams chief executive Adam Parr has gone public and admitted what many have been whispering for some time, that a manufacturer could quit F1 in the not too distant future.

"There is a serious possibility that one or two teams may pull out and they could be manufacturer teams," Parr told BBC Oxford. "The assumption is that it would be an independent team but I don't think this is necessarily the case."

The fact is that Pitpass has been warning of such a scenario for some time. While most focus on the independent and smaller teams, such as Williams and Force India, there is the very real fact that the major manufacturers will re-evaluate what they get out of F1 compared to what they put in.

For the teams at the front of the grid, convincing shareholders, boardroom executives and sponsors to continue splashing the cash is not a problem, but for those teams spending millions and millions in order to grab the occasional point and maybe even a once-a-season trip to the podium things are getting harder.

While Honda no longer has to worry about being embarrassed by Super Aguri, the fact is that 2009 is almost certainly going to be make or break for the Brackley team. Should Ross Brawn and the new regulations not see the Japanese team make serious progress, the powers-that-be are sure to reconsider their involvement in the sport, especially if Toyota's upturn continues.

Then there is Renault, where the senior management in France has made no secret of the fact that it will only continue in F1 while the team is capable of competing for wins. While Fernando Alonso's victory in Singapore was most welcome, for the many millions it invests in its F1 project it will want to see its cars dicing with Ferrari and McLaren not Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

However, let's not forget that when Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz came into F1 he made it clear that he was only going to be in it for a limited period, at one time "three years" was mentioned. Thankfully, while the 'mother' team is struggling, Toro Rosso pulled off a popular victory at Monza. This in turn has led to Mateschitz admitting that he is reconsidering his previous decision to sell his fifty per cent stake in the Faenza outfit.

However, in the same way that the Austrian might have had a change of heart over Toro Rosso, one day he could well awake and ask himself why he is spending so much money on a sport which has already served its purpose, namely telling the world about his energy drink.

"What is broken in Formula One is, in broad terms, the revenue available to the teams is less than the costs of participating in the sport," added Parr, and Williams has more reason to worry about the future than most.

Being the last remaining independent, the team is already under threat. However, the ongoing financial crisis is hitting many of its sponsors including the Royal Bank of Scotland, not to mention the many Icelandic companies whose names are embalozned on the Toyota-powered car. Names such as All Saints and mydiamonds.com, which are both part of the Icelandic giant, the Baugur Group, which also sponsors the Grove outfit courtesy another of its companies, Hamleys, the London-based toy store.

Worrying times.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 09/10/2008
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