Vowles already steering Williams ‘in a different direction’ – Albon
By Ian Parkes
Friday 3rd March, 2023 - 12:00am
Alex Albon feels the influence of James Vowles is already being felt at Williams even though the new team principal has only been in the job less than two weeks.
After 11 years at Mercedes, with the last four of those as its strategy director, Vowles has left the relative comfort of a title-winning organisation to join a Williams team at the opposite end of the grid.
Vowles has been tasked with elevating Williams from last in the constructors’ standings, where it has finished in four of the last five seasons.
Despite the 43-year-old only being in his new role for 11 days, Albon can see a clear difference.
“Firstly, I think even George [Russell] touched on it in testing [last week],” said Albon, speaking ahead of this weekend’s season-opening grand prix in Bahrain.
“He clearly had a big involvement in all areas of the team at Mercedes, he knows a lot about all the moving parts.
“And coming from a team like Mercedes, which has obviously had a lot of success, for him to have all that knowledge, it reminds me a bit of my first time at Red Bull.
“When I joined this team, coming from a team with all that success, it’s ears open, really seeing if there are changes we can make short-term, long-term, even driving wise, maybe the drivers pay a bit more attention to certain things, it’s been very useful.
“You can see how motivated he is. It’s only been 10 or 11 days but already it feels like he’s pointing the ship in a different direction.
“So far, it’s tricky because the change is late [referring to Vowles’ arrival] and we want to see the effects straight away, but through the year, it should show.”
Only way is up for Williams
Albon has made it clear Vowles faces an unenviable task this season as describing himself as “a little bit of pessimistic”, he feels the Williams is only “the 10th quickest team”.
“We have to be realistic,” said Albon. “We definitely have made a better car but then everyone has, so it’s all relative.
“We’re going to really have to fight for a chance for points. It’s not going to be an easy one. Something has to happen for that to happen.
“When I look at testing, we were very reliable, which is a very good positive to have. With the first race of the year, there are often reliability problems and hopefully, we can take advantage of that.
“On pure pace, there are a lot of teams out there that have made big steps – Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, and I’m sure Alpine will be good.
“Around us, I’m sure our direct rivals be AlphaTauri, McLaren. I still think we’re a little bit behind, so let’s see.”
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