New Williams team principal James Vowles insists he won’t be trying to create a “mini-Mercedes” but that he will look to carry over what he deems certain crucial elements.
Vowles will leave his role of motorsport strategy director at Mercedes to lead Williams on February 20, after more than two decades at Brackley. After spells as BAR, Honda and Brawn, Vowles rose to the senior leadership level during Mercedes’ dominant spell and says there are to main aspects that he will prioritize at Williams while taking the team on its own path.
“I wouldn’t consider it a mini-Mercedes. Williams is an incredibly independent team in its own right that’s formed its own history and its own heritage,” Vowles said. “But my intention is to go there… When we asked our senior leadership team (at Mercedes), ‘What’s the most important element of the team?’ it will always go back to two things: People, and culture.
“Not the machine shop floor, not the wind tunnel tools, not the driver-in-loop simulator; it comes back to people and culture, and I believe exactly the same to be true within Williams.
“Before setting foot in there I’m unsure of where we are at the moment but it is the highest thing on my priority list, making sure that everyone understands that it’s about working together, it’s about empowerment, it’s about treating your colleagues with the respect you want back from them and the growth you want back from them so that you can work together towards an end goal.”
Vowles adds the idea that he would do anything to benefit Mercedes having left the team is completely false, as he takes on his first team principal job.
“The second that you put a crisp Williams shirt on, that’s where you are, that’s where your loyalty is and that’s where my success and the team’s success will come from. There’s no mini-Mercedes, no B-team or any of that notion. This is about me standing on my own two legs and making a success with an organization around me.”