Monday, June 24, 2024

Some of Williams Racing’s Facilities, Technologies ‘Twenty Years Out of Date’ – Vowles

James Vowles says some elements of Williams Racing are ‘twenty years out of date’ as he continues his task of overhauling the Grove-based outfit.

Vowles took over as Team Principal of Williams during the winter after leaving his role with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, effectively going from a team familiar with winning to a team sitting at the back of the pack year after year.

Williams have suffered years of underachievement due to lack of investment, something that Vowles hopes is over following the acquisition of the team by Doriltan Capital, but during that time of underinvestment, the facilities at Grove have not been updated to cater for modern day Formula 1.

“I think everything,” said Vowles to when asked about the differences between Mercedes and Williams.  “There are not many, but some elements of the organisation that are of a similar level to Mercedes.

“There are some elements that are twenty years out of date, which makes sense if you think through the history of this team. The investment it had was zero for around about twenty years and then an investment firm came through.

“Fundamentally, we’re in a situation where a lot of facilities were almost preserved from where they were twenty years ago.  Composites is behind what I knew when I first joined the sport with a different team twenty years ago…”

On top of the facilities, Vowles also expects the hard working staff at Williams to evolve if they want to improve. He likens it to doing three years worth of development in just six months, something that was standard elsewhere but was lacking at his new home.

“If you took a group of people and hid them away, and another group of people hid them away, they evolve to different stages,” he said. “And that’s what’s happened, the view of what excellence is, is completely different to what it really is today, and you have to move things forward.

“Internally, a lot of the work I’ve been asking them to do has been likened to asking us to do three years of development in six months. Yes, but that’s the standard. In fact, the standard is higher than that.

“This is where I think we have to have a middle step. You have to show people the pathway, lead them down the pathway and make sure you support them and provide them with the equipment that allows them to do the same thing.

“The other thing on people is that very clearly at Mercedes, you could attract near enough anyone you wanted one with phone call.”