Vowles can "see the light" at the end of Williams tunnel


A year into his role as team boss at Williams, James Vowles is confident that progress is being made, but warns that real progress will not be made overnight.

Moving from Mercedes to Williams, which remains the most successful British team in terms of constructors' titles, was something of a culture shock for the Briton, especially on discovering the total lack of investment in the team's infrastructure and facilities for the last twenty years.

With much of the equipment at Grove woefully out of date, Vowles pushed for the raising of the CapEx to allow for immediate investment, and though it was indeed raised by $20m it still left the team around $130m short of what was needed.

While the debate over Logan Sargeant continues, there is no doubt that Alex Albon was the team's saviour in many ways last year, his 27 points lifting Williams to seventh in the standings.

Asked at the KTM Summer Grill if he is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, Vowles laughed: "I wouldn't be here if there wasn't.

"I left the comfort of an incredible company, Mercedes," he continued, "and had peers around me that are exceptional, winning many world championships, and yet I left to come here.

'The reason why I did is I believe in the vision that we have going forward. Williams is the first team I ever followed in the sport. It has a legacy that most can only dream of, and if you ever doubt that, come here and walk around the Experience Centre. You feel it when you walk into the room. I still get goose pimples today, when you're walking around all the championship cars that are in there, and that are all in working order.

"To answer your question, yes," he said, "but it's not going to happen overnight. That's the message I'd really bring out to everyone.

"Some of those facilities - and we haven't bought the really big chunky ones yet - are still to come.

"You don't buy millions of pounds of equipment and put it in place... it's a 12, 24, even 36-month journey before that equipment is up and running.

"So yes, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, I can see a path that we can forge where we can become successful again, but the journey is not overnight.

"That said, In the meantime, I hope you see us every year stepping up, shoulders held higher, and understanding that we're on the right pathway to the front."

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Published: 24/01/2024
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