James Vowles will not sell Williams’ naming rights to the highest bidder, adamant only a “fool” would drop the legacy that is Williams.
This season there’ll be two new names on the Formula 1, three if you take into account that Sauber cannot run as ‘Stake’ at every race.
The Hinwil team that first raced at the 1993 South African Grand Prix will be known as ‘Stake F1’ for most of the season but at certain races will swap to ‘Kick Sauber’ due to gambling regulations.
As long as James Vowles is in charge the Williams name will remain
The other new name belongs to Red Bull’s junior team. Formerly known as Scuderia Toro Rosso and then AlphaTauri, this year they have the much-talked-about moniker of ‘Visa Cash App RB’.
It’s a name that hasn’t gone down well with fans or pundits with complaints that it is a name lacking in heritage.
But one team that won’t change its name, no matter the offer, is Williams.
Although the team is in its fifth season of ownership under US investment company Dorilton Capital, Williams remains Williams, and if team boss Vowles has any say, it always will.
“I think it’s one of the biggest brands, certainly in motorsport and certainly in the UK. I also have no desire whatsoever to change it nor do Dorilton for that matter, because it means a tremendous amount,” he told the media, including PlanetF1.com.
“Frank and his legacy remain in us. And you’ll see on the livery now as well, if you look you’ll see his arrow subtly embedded in there.
“I really wanted his mark on the car, I wanted to reflect that I’m not here to replace him, I’m here to carry on the legacy that is Williams.
“It’s a huge heritage. Nearly 50 years of cars of which there are many, many champions there.
“It would be a fool who got rid of them, because why would you?
“It still creates the brand that is there today. And it’s one of our strengths against all others that we have.
“I still today don’t know AlphaTauri’s new name and I was in an F1 Commission earlier and they mentioned it but it doesn’t matter. Something is their new name.
“And that’s part of the problem, that doesn’t have legacy, that doesn’t hold weight in my mind.
“You create legacy through championships, through growth, through a tremendous amount of the world believing in you and following you.
“Williams means a tremendous amount to me. It’s the first team I really followed, and it’s what I want to retain because it’s a strength and a weakness.”
Williams first competed in F1 in 1977 and enjoyed several periods of success that included seven Drivers’ Championships and nine Constructors’ titles.
Founding father Frank Williams passed away in 2021, a year after Dorilton Capital bought the team.
Williams’ 2024 challenger, the FW46, will hit the track for the first time for a 200-kilometre filming day in Bahrain on 20th February, ahead of official pre-season testing.