Vowles in for ‘a few surprises’ at Williams – Russell

James Vowles takes over at Williams on February 20

James Vowles has started his new as Williams team principal

George Russell feels James Vowles will be in for “a few surprises” upon joining Williams.

Vowles has spent the past 21 years of his F1 career working out of the factory in Brackley that over time has housed BAR, Honda, Brawn GP, and most recently Mercedes.

The last four years have been as Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director, playing a pivotal role in the team winning eight consecutive constructors’ titles.

Vowles, however, has now accepted one of Formula 1’s most challenging tasks in attempting to revive the fortunes of a Williams team that has finished bottom of the constructors’ standings in four of the last five seasons.

The 43-year-old started on Monday (February 20), with little opportunity to get a feel for the team ahead of the FW45 hitting the track in Bahrain this week for the pre-season test.

Vowles a great hire by Williams – Russell

Russell, who spent three years as a Williams driver before joining Mercedes ahead of last season, can at least appreciate the task Vowles has on his hands.

“Firstly, I’m really happy for James,” said Russell, when asked by Speedcafe.com about Vowles’ appointment.

“I think he thoroughly deserves the opportunity, and he’s an incredibly hard worker.

“For us, personally, on a strategic level, when it came to race strategies, James had already sort of handed over his duties to others within the team.

“He was just overseeing, but actually, through all of last year, the decisions were being made by others, so in that regard, James has left us in very competent hands.”

As to what to expect at Williams, particularly in contrast to what he has encountered at Mercedes, Russell added: “I’m sure he’s going to have a few surprises.

“Naturally, when you’ve you’ve spent so long at such a team (in Mercedes) with so many championships under its belt.

“But to be honest, I can’t think of anybody better Williams could have hired for the job they need to undertake.”

Following the three-day test at the Bahrain International Circuit from February 23-25, Formula 1 kickstarts the season at the same venue the following week from March 3-5.

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