Williams F1 Chairman Warns UK of Motorsport Engineering Complacency

June 29, 2011

Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr has warned the United Kingdom that it should not take the strength of motorsport engineering for granted.

Motorsport is estimated to be worth more than US$800m to the country’s economy and is responsible for approximately 4,000 engineering jobs.

Parr said: “It’s essential that industry, government and the sport itself thinks very carefully about what it does. If you look at countries like China they start off at the low-end of the value chain with cheap labour and then build up from there.

“Already they [China] are moving into airliners and sectors they wouldn’t have dreamt about 10 years ago”.

Parr took over the role of chairman in 2010 from Sir Frank Williams and feels there are still misconceptions about the reality of the Formula One industry.

He said: “There is a high degree of ignorance amongst politicians, leading business people and the public about what we do. Two years ago when we had a leading sponsor, the Royal Bank of Scotland, people in the media were saying it’s champagne swilling.

“But for every £1 of sponsorship we received from any UK company we spent £4.50 in the UK.

“We employ 500 people directly, over a six-year cycle we had 3,000 UK companies as suppliers, we are making a major contribution to the UK economy.”

Parr is adamant that any complacency would prove damaging to the health of the industry.

He added: “There are countries around the world that would saw off limbs to have a motorsport industry like we do. If we sit back and say aren’t we good at something, brilliant and confident, we will get slaughtered.”