Williams chief predicts when James Vowles influence will be felt on the car

Sam Cooper
Alex Albon ahead of Williams colleague Logan Sargeant, Williams. Bahrain, March 2023.

Alex Albon ahead of his Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant. Bahrain, March 2023.

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson has admitted there is “a lot to do” before the team have a competitive car once again.

Despite showing some signs of pace early in the season, Williams have been quickly out developed by their rivals, consigning them to a familiar spot at the back of the grid.

Their floor design became the subject of ridicule due its simplicity compared to that of Mercedes and Red Bull and although team principal Vowles defended it by suggesting it was a bad photo, he did admit you did not need an image of the floor to see how far behind they are.

Vowles is a relatively new member of the Grove team having moved across from Mercedes during the winter break and one of his colleagues predicts it may be a couple of years before his influence is felt.

“I’m completely confident in what he is doing,” said Robson, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “The timescales involved in actually seeing the real progress, it may take us beyond ’24, perhaps.

“There’s quite a lot of rebuilding and restructuring, and getting his experience of what state-of-the-art genuinely looks like has been quite enlightening.

“But it does mean there’s a lot to do and probably more to do than we thought there was. So, there’s a lot to do but he’s set in motion all of the right things but there’s a gestation period to all of that.”

Williams are bottom of the 2023 standings, having scored just one point, and have finished P10 in all but one of the last six seasons.

Robson did say Williams has not abandoned this year’s concept and that the more work they do with the FW45, the stronger the FW46 will be.

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“Those two things are not quite one and the same but to a certain extent they are, in that it’s still just about understanding the subtleties of where the car is weak and making sure that at least what we do bring for the rest of this year does what we expect it to and is still helpful for the bigger changes that will come next year,” Robson said.

“I think it still just comes back to the learning. That’s still the most important thing.

“It’s understanding the subtleties that you can get with some of the corners as to why the car doesn’t behave as the drivers would like it to, and then taking that back to base and understanding what it is we need to do to make it work.

“I think we’ve got a reasonably good idea, but, obviously, making it happen is not easy.”