The Williams Formula 1 team lost sight of excellence during years of financial and sporting struggle, according to new team principal James Vowles.
vowels (pictured left, above) he replaced Jost Capito over the winter, but only began work at the team’s headquarters in Grove, UK, in February, shortly before the start of pre-season testing. Coming from Mercedes, where he was director of motorsport strategy, Vowles had been part of a long era of dominance. He refutes claims that Williams team members are resistant to change, but believes they haven’t had a vision of excellence for a long time.
“I think the belief in (the resistance) has changed as a result of everyone seeing the results that they’ve achieved in recent years,” Vowles said. “I’m not sure it’s as much as you described, but it’s just people who haven’t necessarily had their eyes opened to what excellence is.
“It’s changed, and it’s very difficult when you stay within this tight-knit world that you’re in, sometimes you don’t have the vision of what it looks like, and I think that’s more what we have here.”
Although Mercedes slipped out of championship contention last season, Vowles says the impact of a lack of investment in Williams over a long period was clear from the moment it arrived and means it will take a long time to address staffing shortfalls and resources.
“The team, over the last 15 years, has been through a tremendous amount of hardship, financial and otherwise. It’s survived all of that, but it’s just survival compared to other organizations that have had funding. That’s the luxury I’ve had before I joined here, and as a result of that, you have these stark differences between where we are today and where we need to be in the future.
“The cost cap is a limiting factor on all of these things, simply because it puts us in a position where there is a limited amount of (capex) and it won’t be enough to spend on our path to success, as we probably would. would do. define it. So the path is, to some extent, a number of years needed for some of the core facilities to reach the level required to compete on the front lines. And that’s not the work of six months or 12 months.
“On top of that, as I have also discussed externally before, we are in a position where we are short of key technical personnel and the team is definitely under pressure at the moment to make sure we are filling those gaps to the best of our ability. So the road is not months, but years”.