Capito declares Williams family business now over

Date published: February 17 2022 - Jamie Woodhouse

Williams FW44 rear wing. February 2022.

Williams team boss Jost Capito says that the outfit has evolved to grow out of being the family business that it originally was.

A part of the Formula 1 grid since 1977, the team had until 2020 been owned by the Williams family, regarded as one of the final independent, family-run teams in Formula 1.

But after purchasing the team in the summer of 2020, new owners Dorilton Capital have set about transforming the once underfunded Williams entity into a “winning machine“.

At the helm has been Capito, who in December 2020 was announced as the team’s new CEO, before also taking on the team principal role in June 2021.

Behind the scenes Dorilton has been investing to modernise Williams’ facilities and machinery, while making several other key appointments, such as Francois-Xavier โ€˜FXโ€™ Demaison being named technical director and Sven Smeets taking the sporting director role, Capito using his Volkswagen connections for those signings.

So under his watch, Capito says that “critical changes” have allowed Williams to expand, putting the family-feel days behind them.

The Grove outfit scored 23 points in 2021 to secure P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, ending a three-year stint at the foot of the standings which included scoring zero for the first time in 2020.

George Russell’s P2 finish was the 2021 highlight, qualifying in that position which became his race result due to the heavy rain and fog stopping any racing taking place.

“First of all, you have a high respect if you come into Williams,” Capito told Motorsport.com.

“This is a team with a huge heritage with huge success in the past.

“We did not a lot of personal changes, we did some critical changes. And I think what helped a lot is to improve the spirit and to give the pride back to the team.

“We don’t accept any more to be last, we want to move up the grid, and we work hard to do that, and we need the spirit and we need to enjoy that journey.

“I think that was the main thing and then fighting for points and getting in the position that we got some points and then like the icing on the cake, the podium in Spa, boosted not just the team on the race track but boosted the whole company.

“We also we developed processes, we developed different structures. We improve the communication within the company. We developed our values for the company and the behaviours we want to have in the company.

“I think we came from very much from a family business to a well-structured engineering company.”

While 2021 was certainly a step in the right direction for Williams, Capito explained that it is not a short or simple process to return to being competitive towards the front of the grid.

That being said, all-new regulations are at play for 2022 and Williams have opted for a unique design with the FW44.

So, how much progress they can make with this regulatory reset really depends on what the opposition comes up with.

 

“To bring the team back to where we want to be from where we have been in 2020 is a long way,” Capito stated.

“It’s not something you can fix and undo in one year, so there’s more to do than has been done.

“I think compared to the top teams, what we still were lacking was that we didn’t have investment over the last years. And from last year, we were limited by the cost cap as well.

“But everybody started from scratch with a new car and it’s very difficult to say where everybody starts out of the box. So for us progress will be how we can improve compared to the competition.”