Williams have appointed former Mercedes head of strategy James Vowles as their new team principal.

The 43-year-old was a central figure at Mercedes during their domination of Formula 1 from 2014 to 2021.

As motorsport strategy director, Vowles was one of a small set of key senior people who ran Mercedes under team principal Toto Wolff.

Vowles said it was “an honour to join a team with such an incredibly rich heritage”.

He replaces Jost Capito, who was sacked by Williams in December after just two years with the team.

Vowles, who starts his role on 20 February, said: “I cannot wait to start with Williams Racing. The team is an icon of our sport, one I greatly respect, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge.

“Mercedes have been hugely supportive on my journey, and we part on excellent terms after over 20 years of working in Brackley.

“Williams Racing have placed their faith and trust in me, and I will do the same in return. Williams has tremendous potential, and our journey together starts in a matter of weeks.”

Vowles will be charged with reviving the fortunes of a team who dominated F1 for large periods of the 1980s and 1990s but who have slipped to the back of the field in recent years, finishing last for the past three seasons.


Matthew Savage, chairman of Williams owners Dorilton, said: “James 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.

“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.”

Vowles’ move comes with Mercedes’ blessing and Wolff said: “James has been a highly valued member of our team in his role as motorsport strategy director, playing an integral part in our success in recent years.

“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.

“Since stepping back from the pit wall mid-season last year, he has continued to build the capability of our strategy team at Brackley, and we have a fantastic group of talented strategists who will continue their superb work in the years to come.

“While we are naturally sad to be saying goodbye to such a capable member of the team, I have no doubts whatsoever that he has all the necessary skills to become a fantastic team principal in F1.”

Vowles has worked at Mercedes’ Brackley base since he started his 21-year career in F1, staying through its guises as British American Racing, Honda, Brawn and then Mercedes and taking on key engineering and race strategy roles before moving into his most recent position in 2018.

By dhandi

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