James Vowles predicts when first ‘real step forward’ will take place at Williams

Sam Cooper
A thumbs up from Williams team boss James Vowles.

Williams secured seventh place in the 2023 Constructors' Championship

James Vowles has warned Williams fans not to expect too much too soon as he believes the first “real step forward” will come with the 2026 regulation changes.

Any time a regulation cycle comes to an end, it can serve as a shuffling of the pack in terms of the established order.

Williams will certainly attest to that with their car plum last often during the hybrid era but Alex Albon finished P13 in 2023, suggesting they were further up the pecking order.

James Vowles details Williams comeback blueprint

13th is not the sum of Vowles’ ambition though and the Williams boss is determined to take the team back to their glory days.

To do that, he said, he needs time.

“I’m satisfied with the work we’re doing, but I bet if you interview all the team principals they’ll tell you: ‘I’m satisfied with the work we’re doing,” he told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.

“That usually tells you that maybe you’ll get a little further, but nothing more.

“The big steps forward are made with the change in regulations. 2026 will be the first opportunity to take a real step forward.”

Vowles also said he approaches a problem with a different mindset than the norm, choosing to look at the bigger picture rather than the obvious issue.

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“You can very quickly get drawn into what I call the weed problem, where you look at a problem and then start digging. But that, to be honest, is a short-term attitude, because that problem is already the result of other systems that were wrong from the start.

“Everything we’ve changed is about bringing in infrastructure and people, and it’s going to take a long time for the effects to be felt.”

As for their 2024 car, the FW46, Vowles said that it will tap into the potential of their 2023 runner.

“We’ve added load, but really the main thing we’ve worked on is the behaviour and characteristics of the car. I think there’s untapped potential, so we can make some steps forward. How much, however, is difficult to say.”

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