Williams team boss James Vowles has brought a breath of fresh air with his arrival to the British team. Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson outlines the changes Vowles has brought about at Williams, and how they are being felt at all levels of the company.
At the start of 2023, Vowles replaced Jost Capito as team boss at Williams. The once successful team, Williams won the constructors’ title nine times, has declined into a rearguard team in recent years. Vowles was appointed to bring Williams back to midfield, something that, according to Robson, the new team boss has already put into effect in 2023.
“There are several things that James (Vowles, ed.) actually made possible,” the engineer told Motorsport.com. ‘One of the most important things is that for the first time in a long time we are not just focused on today and tomorrow, which allows you to view many things more from the medium or long term. That’s completely different from how it’s been since 2014, 2015. It’s not like we can just make ends meet anymore, so that changes things enormously.’
Cultural change at Williams
According to Robson, the working culture within Williams has also become much better since Vowles’ arrival. ‘The whole philosophy of how we do research and development and what our goals are has become very different. Moreover, he came from outside and could see exactly where the weaknesses were. When that experience and authority (with a team, ed.) comes in, it means that there is not much discussion. Now we have a clear idea of where we should be.”
Robson also explains what makes the new work culture at Williams under Vowles so great. ‘It’s really about being open and honest and that everyone understands that making mistakes is fine, as long as we learn from them. That is also different from how it was sometimes. There is no list of five points that have really had a clear impact, it is simply that he manages the team in a different and better way.’ Although Vowles is more often found at the track than in the factory, Robson sees that the new Williams team boss’s management style is also ‘tripping through’ there. However, the engineer warns: ‘It will probably take another year or two before it is fully translated into results, but you can feel that the change is happening.’