James Vowles keen to aid ‘creaking’ Williams with fast technical director appointment

Henry Valantine
Williams team principal James Vowles speaking at Bahrain testing.

Williams' James Vowles speaking at Bahrain testing.

James Vowles has said recruiting a new technical director is high on his priority list, with Williams “creaking” due to others having to take on different roles to fill in the gaps.

Francois-Xavier Demaison left the team at the end of last year along with former team principal Jost Capito, and with Vowles coming across from Mercedes to lead the team moving forward, he revealed a Williams chief designer is currently fulfilling technical director duties before a full-time replacement is found.

But with that comes a stretching of the team’s resources while a key role is sought after, and the new Williams team principal wants to address that area of the team as soon as he can, which will have a wider-reaching impact throughout the technical department.

“We have someone standing in who is doing an incredible job as the technical director, normally a chief designer, but clearly the organisation is creaking as a result of just not having the technical people that we need in place,” Vowles told Sky Sports F1 in Bahrain.

“And the first task, therefore, is to make sure that we provide the technical knowledge required to move forwards.

“So absolutely on my agenda is not just that [appointing a technical director], it’s just making sure that we have all the departments, technical departments, filled with the correct people.”

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Vowles received praise from head of vehicle performance Dave Robson for how he has taken to his first role as a team principal so far, with his presence and years of success with Mercedes having “re-energised” the team along with a successful pre-season testing period for the team.

Alex Albon scored a point in Bahrain to top off a solid weekend for Williams too, their first time finishing in the top 10 at the season opener since 2017, and the team principal added that every decision he takes is with the long-term future in mind.

“The main thing is this: what I want to see is positive progress, and it won’t be weeks or months, it will be more than that. It’s on a years [long] timescale,” Vowles explained.

“I’ve already said publicly that [there are] no short-term solutions, everything is long term. And the goal for myself is that externally, without data, without knowing what’s going on in the team, everyone looks at us and goes, ‘okay, that’s an organisation that’s moving forward.’”