DC hopes James Vowles will put ‘the pieces back together again’ at Williams

Sam Cooper
Mercedes strategy director James Vowles listening to a conversation. Melbourne, April 2022.

James Vowles listening to a conversation. Melbourne, April 2022.

David Coulthard hopes that James Vowles can “start putting the pieces back together again” at Williams after he became the new team principal.

The former Mercedes man was announced as Jost Capito’s successor on Friday following a 13-year stint with the Silver Arrows and even longer with the teams that had operated out of Brackley before.

It is the first time Vowles will take on the role having previously worked as Mercedes’ head of strategy and his task at Williams is one of the hardest a team principal will face given the team’s run of poor form.

The Grove based outfit has finished bottom of the standings in four of the past five seasons including last time out in 2022.

The news broke shortly before Coulthard was to give a press conference at Red Bull’s demo event in Dublin and admitted he was unaware of the move.

“Your finger’s on the pulse more than mine, has that been confirmed?” he said when asked by PlanetF1.com for his reaction.

“I was in the toilet, I always miss the big announcements!”

Having been brought up to speed, Coulthard said that he had a “great deal of affection” for the team that gave him his F1 debut.

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“That’s a great opportunity for Williams,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com. “I think it’s a logical progression for James and his career.

“He’s been part of BAR then Brawn and then Mercedes for many, many years. I wish him all the very best at Williams.

“I have a great deal of affection for the Williams team. They gave me my opportunity, they gave many young drivers an opportunity. So with the name and the legacy of what Frank Williams created there, it’d be nice to imagine that they can, under his leadership, start putting the pieces back together again.”

DC also said that sometimes, the right person in the right job is all it takes for a team to click.

“It sounds simple but if you bring the right brain power together, if you look at Red Bull,” Coulthard stated.

“They were, in Jaguar, a fairly middle grade team despite the best efforts of Eddie Irvine to bring them up the grid, and then when you bring people like Adrian Newey and the creative minds, the men and women that put the long hours in and suddenly they’re a world class operation that are beating them major manufacturers, so that’s what Williams need to rediscover as well.”

Additional reporting by Aron Day