Giedo van der Garde urges Williams to give young gun a shot as team boss

Thomas Maher
Williams driver Alex Albon. Japan October 2022.

Alex Albon drives for Williams in a special edition helmet. Suzuka October 2022.

Former F1 racer Giedo van der Garde believes Williams should take a risk on a “young” team principal for 2023, like Red Bull did back in 2004.

Williams are, presently, without a confirmed team boss for 2023, following the sudden departure of CEO and team principal Jost Capito in early December.

The Grove-based squad are one of several teams going through the turmoil of a change in leadership, with Ferrari replacing the resigning Mattia Binotto with Alfa Romeo’s Frederic Vasseur.

At McLaren, Andrea Stella has taken over the seat left by Andreas Seidl as the German moved to Sauber as their CEO – a likely long-term move ahead of the arrival of Audi in 2026.

Williams and Alfa Romeo are yet to confirm who their new team principals will be but, in Williams’ case, Van Der Garde believes the Dorilton-owned squad should look to take a big risk like Red Bull did when they handed the top job to a then very-unproven Christian Horner – a role he took to with aplomb as he guided them to the very top of the sport.

“If I were Williams, I would go for a young [guy],” Van Der Garde said, in conversation with the Dutch subsidiary of Motorsport.com.

“When Red Bull started in Formula 1, they brought in Christian Horner, who was a team principal in Formula 3000. That turned out to be a very smart and good move.

“I think there are a few good guys in Formula 2 right now who could do it. Guys who have achieved the necessary successes, have the right mentality, and know how to run an organisation. I would get a young dog who wants to get ahead and is eager for success.

An additional advantage is that person is not very expensive. Of course, there is a risk involved, but give such a young talent the chance in Formula 1.”

Giedo Van Der Garde offers some examples of potential names

Looking through the field of Formula 2 team bosses, Van Der Garde said the very-successful Prema team boss could be a target – not that he believes the approach would be successful.

“He is not going to do it, but Rene Rosin from Prema – for example,” the Dutch racer said.

“He is very successful in everything he does. But Prema is a family team. He won’t be leaving there any time soon. Or Giacomo Ricci. He has been a team manager at Trident for a few years now, which is successful in Formula 3 and, last year, won a race in Formula 2 with Richard Verschoor.

“He has driven in Formula 3000 and GP2 himself and therefore also has experience as a driver. That is a very capable and passionate [guy]. But there are still a few around. You need guys like that.”

One possibility Van Der Garde shot down was that of Susie Wolff – the former Williams test and development driver, who went on to become team boss at Venturi in Formula E – with Van Der Garde believing she is “too light” for taking on a similar role in F1.

Making further predictions about what may yet unfold in the team manager merry-go-round, Van Der Garde said he believes Andreas Seidl will become team boss at Audi, with an interim team boss coming in to serve as Seidl’s ‘right-hand-man’ between now and 2026.

Mattia Binotto, now on the market after almost three decades with Ferrari, could show up at Alfa Romeo, Van Der Garde believes – Binotto was born in Switzerland to Italian parents, and was raised in Lausanne.

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