‘Not on owner’s bestseller list’ – Williams boss James Vowles subject of surprise scathing criticism

Jamie Woodhouse
Williams' team boss James Vowles, pictured on the pitwall at the Qatar Grand Prix.

James Vowles on the Williams pitwall.

Williams team principal James Vowles has been told to look in the mirror after a difficult and expensive start to F1 2024 which will have left owner Dorilton Capital far from impressed.

This claim is coming from a former Williams driver in Ralf Schumacher, who knows all about achieving success with the Grove-based team, as all six of his career wins came with Williams during their BMW partnership.

Ralf Schumacher slams James Vowles over Williams struggles

In present day, Williams are led by James Vowles, who departed his role as Mercedes’ chief strategist to take over as team principal in time for the 2023 campaign, Vowles earning widespread praise after his first year in charge as Williams secured a P7 finish in the Constructors’ Championship with 28 points, three places and 20 points up on their 2022 efforts.

It has been a challenging start to F1 2024 though, Williams still waiting for their first point after four rounds, while big shunts for both drivers – Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant – have made major dents in the budget and exposed Williams’ lack of a spare chassis.

And Schumacher believes the situation has not reflected well on Vowles at all, suggesting he will be far from a favourite person right now with Dorilton Capital, who bought the team from the Williams family in 2020.

“I think Vowles has to look at himself a bit now,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that he’s not necessarily on [the Williams] owner’s bestseller list.”

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Vowles is not the only member of the Williams team who has attracted some stern criticism from Schumacher, with Sargeant also feeling his wrath.

The American racer had a major point to prove at the Japanese Grand Prix, after Vowles sidelined him in Melbourne via the decision to give his car to Albon after the latter crashed in practice.

However, Sargeant suffered a fresh shunt of his own in FP1 at Suzuka, applying more pressure to the Williams repairs bill, while he also went off into the gravel on race day, thankfully this time avoiding the barriers.

In the opinion of Schumacher, Sargeant is “overwhelmed” and it is time for him to consider life after Formula 1.

“You have to be fair, he’s definitely gotten closer to Albon. But he just makes too many mistakes,” said Schumacher.

“That’s evident in that he runs over the car.

“It just keeps coming back to the same thing – he’s simply overwhelmed and it’s time for him to realise it and probably do something different.”

Sargeant is out of contract at Williams come the end of F1 2024, while Albon has another year left to run on his deal.

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