Formula 1 Racing

The key decisions Williams must make over its F1 future

James Vowles, Williams team principal

With Jost Capito gone after his short tenure in charge, new recruit James Vowles now has the reins of the team, and the Sakhir result represented a pretty good start for the new boss.

Vowles would be the last man to claim any responsibility for the strong performance in the season opener, simply because he hadn’t had time to make his mark, having started at Grove just a few days before the Bahrain test kicked off.

However, his arrival has already helped bring to the camp an air of optimism that was evident over the race weekend as it became clear that the FW45 was in better shape than testing had suggested.

In the coming weeks, Vowles will have to study every aspect of the organisation and gain a full understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

Only then will he be in a position to begin to make the sort of big calls that will shape the future of a team whose last tilt at the championship was 20 years ago.

“Because of testing and because of racing, the amount of days physically in the factory just hasn’t been at the level required,” Vowles admits. “But I’ve had a chance now to walk around the facility and meet, albeit briefly, for a few seconds, individuals of the team.

“So I have a very, very macro awareness of what’s there, and what’s not there. But the detail behind what needs to be done across really the next six months isn’t formed in my mind.”

He does have a provisional snapshot assessment: “What I can say is this: any organisation irrespective of whether it’s an F1 team or otherwise cannot be a high-performing outfit, if you a) take money away from it, and b) basically have such disruption across a number of years that you end up in a poor situation.

“And that’s where Williams is. It’s not for lack of good people. It’s just simply lack of stability over a period of time.”

It’s often been said in the F1 paddock that there’s a core group of folk at Williams who are somewhat resistant to change, and the revolving door of technical personnel in recent years perhaps hints at that – those in charge have seemingly struggled to make their presence felt.

James Vowles, Williams team principal

Photo by: Williams

Vowles downplays that suggestion.

“I think the belief on that is changed as a result of everyone’s seeing the results that have been achieved over the last few years,” he says.

“I’m not sure it’s so much in the way you’ve described anymore as much as there’s just people that haven’t had, necessarily their eyes open to…

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