Williams ‘survived’ 15 years of under financing
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 7th March, 2023 - 7:00pm
New Williams team boss James Vowles has suggested the once all-conquering F1 team has simply “survived” for the last 15 years.
Vowles joined the team from Mercedes last month as a replacement for Jost Capito who retired at the end of 2022.
Capito left a team that finished last in the constructors’ championship for the fourth time in five years.
Dorilton Capital, the group that now owns the business, has employed Vowles to turn around its fortunes.
That will take time, the Brit has warned, having previously stated that his priority is longer-term success above short-term gains.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Williams was a powerhouse of F1, winning nine constructors’ and seven drivers’ titles during that period.
Its most recent championship came with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, and it hasn’t been a consistent front-runner since the mid-2000s.
“The team has, over the last 15 years, been through a tremendous amount of difficulty, financially and otherwise, and it’s survived,” Vowles told selected media, including Speedcafe.com.
“But it is just survival compared to other organisations that have had finance.
“That’s the luxury I had prior to joining, and as a result of that you have the stark differences between where we are today, and where we need to be in the future.”
Given the team’s financial constraints, Vowles believes what money his predecessors had available has been used well.
“It’s just the problem is it’s a small piece of the pie that you need to fill entirely, all of the components need to be improved, not just one,” he explained.
“They’ve just been limited by the steps they’re taking, so there’s more to do but certainly the investment so far has been pretty much correct.”
Williams is a team that is no longer strapped for cash the way it was.
While funds are not infinite, it is in a healthier position.
It’s a double-edged sword, however, as F1 now operates under cost cap rules which limit areas team can spend in.
“The cost cap is a limiting factor on all these things simply because it puts us in a position where there’s a limited amout of CapEx (capital expenditure),” Vowles explained.
“It won’t be enough to spend our way to success, as I would probably define it.”
That leaves Vowles and Williams someway down the path to improvement, but with a long way to go.
“So the pathway is, to a certain extent, a number of years required to get some of the core facilities up to the level of quality.
“Further to that, as I’ve discussed externally previously as well, we are in a position where we are lacking key technical personnel and the team’s definitely under strain at the moment to ensure that we’re filling those voids as best we can.”
Vowles has said he’s on the hunt for staff, including a technical director, but is not willing to rush any decision.
Williams was a points scorer in Bahrain, Alex Albon nabbing the last on offer for 10th.
As a result, it sits seventh in the constructors’ championship, ahead of McLaren, Haas, and Scuderia AlphaTauri.
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