Finishing seventh wasn't just about the money, insists Vowles


Williams boss James Vowles insists that finishing seventh in the team standings wasn't just about the money, even though fending off AlphaTauri's late charge was worth $7m to his team.

In the end it was a bit of a damp squib, with the Williams pair effectively out of the running as all eyes focussed on the heroic efforts of Yuki Tsunoda to help his team overhaul the Grove outfit.

Despite leading the race at one point, ultimately the team's strategy let him down for in the closing stages of the race his ageing hards were no match for the fresher rubber on the cars of Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso, Tsunoda eventually crossing the line in 8th, 4 points short of the number needed to leapfrog Williams.

"I gave it all, everything," he declared, and we all knew he had.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief, Vowles insists that finishing seventh wasn't just about the prize money.

"Probably the most important thing is that it sets the foundations for the team, that they have something to build on now," he told "What I wanted to do was to stand up and go, this is the start of our journey," added the former Mercedes strategist who joined Williams at the start of the season.

"We're not going backwards from here," he insists. "This is a new de facto standard and a spring for us.

"It's not the financial element that we are particularly worried about, you lose out on wind tunnel time."

Nonetheless, the Briton admits that the difference in prize money is important.

"I've been very open and public about the fact that we're throwing away, in terms of losses, tens of millions," he admits. "But we're here to invest, to go back to the front, whatever that costs in the short term.

"It always helps having money in the bank," he adds. "What P7 does is it pretty much helps the discussion when I'm going behind the scenes and asking for $100 million more, which is the sort of numbers we're talking about. It makes a massive difference for that."

While we were all anticipating a great scrap between the Williams pair - who had looked good for the early part of the weekend - and their Faenza rivals, once the lights went out they were effectively observers as Tsunoda went about his task.

"Oddly enough I don't really get nervous in races," says Vowles, "even though Netflix were filming me. I'm pretty sure my expressions at some points aren't going to be the best.

"But the conclusion I came to before the race even started is that whatever happened, I was proud of what we have achieved up until this point.

"AlphaTauri were leading the race on the strategy they chose, and they were quick," he admits. "So to finish ahead of them is a proud moment for me.

"We must remember that we cut off development before any other team on the grid and then I asked the team to please, by the way, finish seventh. To do that, to do that by a matter of points tells me we made the right decisions, and that the team has worked really well together to be where we are."

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Published: 30/11/2023
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