Williams ‘not anti individuals getting more’ but also want a fair chance

Michelle Foster
James Vowles, Williams team principal. Bahrain March 2023.

Williams team principal James Vowles stands on the grid ahead of the race. Bahrain March 2023.

As the debate over CapEx and whether Williams should get a bit more leeway continues, James Vowles says he’s “not anti” other teams getting more such as Ferrari with their heritage bonus.

Every year Ferrari receive an added extra from the pot, rumoured to be 2.5% of all prize money, as a heritage bonus in recognition of their status as the only team to have contested every season since the start of the World Championship in 1950.

It’s a slice of the pie that Vowles doesn’t begrudge them.

Williams team boss: I’m not anti individuals getting more

“I think Ferrari brings something to the sport, we have to be truthful about it,” the Williams team boss told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“If you ask your average person who they know in Formula One, you’ll see Ferrari still stands out as a name. And that’s the truth behind it.

“They bring to the sport a level of legacy and recognition. So I think there’s a reason why those things were in place. It’s about how the sport has grown.

“I’m not anti individuals getting more.

“What I’d like more, though, is something that’s more ability for on any given Sunday, everyone can win and moving us as a sport upwards. That’s what I’m more interested in.”

But for that to happen, or at least for that to include Williams, Vowles needs some leeway in capital expenditure limit, which is set at $36 million, to upgrade the Grove team’s antiquated facilities.

Having previously revealed some of Williams’ technology hasn’t been updated in two decades, the former Mercedes motorsport strategy director appealed to his rival team bosses at the Belgian Grand Prix for room to manoeuvre.

However, rival team bosses, according to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, “jumped on the bandwagon and said ‘Well actually, we would like to have a little bit more CapEx’.”

The debate, says Vowles, went around in circles with the Briton left hoping that the next meeting with yield a better outcome for Williams.

“It’s disappointing, frankly, that we’re in a situation where again, that meeting, I would argue, went around in circles if nothing else,” he said.

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“And to a certain extent, it will do because everyone in that room wants to make sure that they’re not losing out relative to everyone else. And there was no way of doing it.

“There’s no way of just letting Williams gain facilities, especially in a circumstance where we’re currently sitting seven in the championship, you know other teams will be hurt by the fact that we could put millions. And some are in different positions, some don’t have the money to spend, some don’t want to spend the money, some are fearful of change.”

He added: “What I’m hoping out of all of it is it’s undoubtedly agreed that Williams amongst all the peers is the one with the least amount of facilities. And that means rectifying that, and we’ll have another go at fixing that and see if we get other people’s mindsets to modify.”

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