Why Williams are casting aside 2023 F1 upgrade plans

Thomas Maher
Logan Sargeant, Williams F1 driver, in FP1 for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant, Williams F1 driver, in FP1 for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Williams’ James Vowles has explained why his team aren’t keeping up the development push over the remainder of 2023.

Having taken over as Williams team boss at the start of 2023, James Vowles has begun the lengthy process of shaping the future of the Grove-based squad, and has made the call not to pursue any significant car development between now and the end of the year.

Williams currently occupy seventh in the Constructors’ Championship but, with the team not making any changes to the car from now on, may find themselves slipping back behind rivals like Haas, Alfa Romeo, and AlphaTauri.

Why are Williams not making any further upgrades?

Speaking with media, including PlanetF1.com, ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Vowles said that the car being used for the race in Zandvoort will remain fundamentally the same between now and season end.

“The car we have is… that’s it,” he said.

“We don’t have anything more coming for the remainder of the year. So we have to try and pick up the points that are going to be available to us when they’re going to be available to us.”

Vowles explained that the intention of the team is now on long-term improvement, rather than trying to find short-term gains.

“The focus, not just now but actually from a while back, has been on 2024. And actually part of the focus is on 2025 and ’26 as well,” he said.

“At the moment, we’re in a fierce battle for this eighth, ninth, and 10th. I want the team, for them and for me as well, to be in the fierce battle for positions above that.

“You can’t do that by continuously developing what you have at the moment. You do that by thinking forward into the future. That will have a cost associated with it, potentially even going backward, for you to go forward again in the future.”

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Despite the technical regulations remaining stable for 2024, leading many teams to keep up their development push this year as lessons learned will apply to next year’s car, Vowles suggested that a major concept change could be on the way for Williams’ 2024 car that mean the development this year would prove less useful.

“Not with where we are,” he said, when asked if it wouldn’t make sense to keep up the push this year.

“There’s too much that we’re changing as a fundamental and you can’t do the two things at the same time.

“I’d much rather focus on breaking systems and rebuilding them rather than trying to make do.”

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