Mercedes success with Vowles can revive Williams – Albon
By Ian Parkes
Tuesday 7th February, 2023 - 3:50am
Alex Albon is hoping James Vowles’ experience and insight from working with a championship-winning F1 team in Mercedes will lead to a resurgence at Williams.
From February 20, Vowles takes over as Williams team principal, charged with the unenviable task of reviving a team that has finished bottom of the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in four of the last five seasons.
Vowles takes with him a vast amount of experience after a 21-year stint of working out of the factory in Brackley that initially housed BAR, then Honda, Brawn GP, and latterly Mercedes.
The 43-year-old was an instrumental figure in the winning of nine constructors’ titles – one with Brawn and eight with Mercedes – and eight drivers’ championships, with Lewis Hamilton claiming six, and Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button one apiece.
After spending the last four years with Mercedes as its motorsport strategy director, Vowles now faces arguably his most difficult task yet in trying to plot Williams’ way out of the mire in which it has found itself during that same period.
Speaking to invited media, including Speedcafe.com, Albon, who helped unveil Williams’ new FW45 livery, said: “He hasn’t started work yet so it’s hard to say too much.
“But obviously we’ve been on phone calls and we grabbed dinner with him the other day.
“The first thing I can say is that obviously he’s been at Mercedes for over 20 years now – surprisingly because he looks quite young.
“He’s clearly got a lot of experience, and on top of that, it’s experience with success and being in an environment and a team that has won multiple world championships.
“He was very involved in Mercedes, and it’s great to have that knowledge and information that he has, and obviously, for us especially, where we’ve had a few tough years, it gives a great insight into just what it takes.
“I feel like because of his experience and because of his success, it just wants to make all of us listen to him, and to understand why Mercedes do certain things and the reasons for it because we want to have that winning mentality.
“We want to win races eventually, so it’s great to have him on board.”
Vowles’ motivation to drive Williams forward
Head of vehicle performance Dave Robson has no doubt Vowles will want to prove himself with Williams and to turn around a team that has floundered in recent years.
It was only as recently as 2015 that Williams finished third in the constructors’ championship, although you know have to go back 11 years to its last race victory when Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix.
Whilst miracles cannot be expected of Vowles, Robson said: “He’s obviously in a really good position to take us forward.
“He’s obviously got a huge amount of experience, including an enormous amount of success.
“I think he is incredibly motivated and keen to see Williams move on in the next chapter of our development and re-emergence new ownership.
“So I think myself and the whole team are genuinely really excited of getting him on board, and getting working with him.
“We’ll get that pleasure in a couple of weeks’ time.”
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