If you would have asked me who Williams F1 would choose to replace Jost Capito, I have to be honest and tell you that James Vowles was not the person who sprang to mind. Now that’s not an indictment of James or Williams, I just didn’t know that the chief strategist for Mercedes was looking for a team boss role in F1.
Having said that, that’s exactly who Williams have chosen and it comes with a blessing from Toto Wolff no less making you wonder if Toto isn’t pleased to see some of his team take larger roles within one of their customer’s operation. Here is the press release:
Williams F1 Press release:
Williams Racing is delighted to announce that James Vowles is becoming its new Team Principal. James will join the team on 20 February, ahead of the first Grand Prix in Bahrain.
James will become only the third Team Principal in the 46-year history of the Grove squad, after Frank Williams and Jost Capito.
The 43-year-old Brit has been instrumental in securing nine F1 Constructors’ Championships and has overseen over 120 race victories.
James has enjoyed a 21-year career to date in Formula 1 and will join Williams Racing from the Mercedes F1 Team, the squad he has been with since its inception in 2010. His most recent role at the Brackley-based team was as Motorsport Strategy Director, a position he held for over four years.
Prior to that, he fulfilled key engineering and strategy roles at Mercedes and former F1 teams including Honda Racing, Brawn GP and British American Racing.
“I cannot wait to start with Williams Racing. It’s an honour to join a team with such an incredibly rich heritage. The team is an icon of our sport, one I greatly respect, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge,” said James.
As race strategist at Brawn, James managed the strategy that saw Williams Racing Brand Ambassador Jenson Button secure the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship Drivers’ title and the team take the Constructors’ Championship – results that have the team in the record books as the only F1 team in history to have a perfect championship record.
In his time with Mercedes, James has been a key contributor to the team’s many successes, including eight Constructors’ Championship victories, six Drivers’ Championships with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s championship-winning season.
Williams Racing began a new chapter at the start of 2021 under new leadership and there is an exciting journey ahead for the team as we continue to fight for a return to competitiveness.
Talking of the new appointment, Dorilton Capital Chairman Matthew Savage said: “We are delighted to welcome James to Williams Racing.
“He is one of the most highly respected talents in Formula 1 and will bring performance. He has been a key part of some of the most impressive feats in the sport over the past 15 years.
“As we continue our relentless pursuit for results, we believe that the appointment of James reinforces our dedication to ensuring we have energetic, experienced, and strong leadership as we move into the next phase of transforming Williams Racing.”
James added: “Williams Racing have placed their faith and trust in me, and I will do the same in return. The team has tremendous potential, and our journey together starts in a matter of weeks.”
Talking of his departure from Mercedes after over 12 years with the team, James said: “Mercedes have been hugely supportive on my journey, and we part on excellent terms after over 20 years of working in Brackley.
“I am grateful for everything Toto [Wolff] and the team have provided, and it has been such a special experience to journey together through failure and success.”
Toto himself had some gracious words to say as the news of James’ appointment became public: “Having worked with him since I first joined the team in 2013, I know how diligent, capable and talented he is and have taken great satisfaction from watching James develop and grow over the past decade.
“While we are naturally sad to be saying goodbye, we wish him every success and are delighted that he will take this next step in his career with Williams, a strong technical partner of ours and one that has a place close to my own heart.”