Dave Robson Speaks on James Vowles' Influence at Williams

James Vowles, who assumed his role as the Williams Team Principal in March, has already ushered in a renewed and revitalized ambiance at the Grove-based team, says Dave Robson

by Faruk Imamovic
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Dave Robson Speaks on James Vowles' Influence at Williams

James Vowles, who assumed his role as the Williams Team Principal in March, has already ushered in a renewed and revitalized ambiance at the Grove-based team, says Dave Robson, the team’s Head of Vehicle Performance.

This transformation comes after a challenging year for Williams in 2022, which saw the team languishing at the base of the standings. This led to the departure of Team Principal Jost Capito and Technical Director FX Demaison.

Vowles was then announced as Capito's successor, a move that's showing early signs of promise. During a recent interaction in Hungary, Robson, a stalwart at Williams since 2015, illuminated Vowles’ burgeoning influence, remarking, “James has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge.

And also, I think, a whole new approach which is really starting to spread around the factory." Drawing a parallel between Vowles and driver Alex Albon, Robson noted how both have ushered in a sense of calm and consistency.

The renewed approach, fortified by Vowles’ understanding of the workings at MGP (gleaned from his interactions with Andrew Shovlin and his colleagues), now gives Williams a clear roadmap for the coming years. Robson enthused, “It really feels like we've now got a clear plan for the next few years.

That's very much rooted in recent top-level experience, and now we're just going to put that into action”. He was quick to mention the positive ripple effect Vowles has created in the short term, attributing some of the on-track successes to the newfound ambiance.

Mercedes Reflects on Vowles' Legacy

Seated alongside Robson was Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ Engineering Director. Shovlin shared an intricate past with Vowles, having worked side by side with him for an impressive 21-year tenure in Formula 1.

Speaking fondly of their shared memories, Shovlin said, “All my good memories from races… I was sat next to James on the pit wall for 20 years or whatever it was”. Shovlin underscored Vowles' lasting legacy at Mercedes, revealing how Vowles laid down the foundation of a proficient strategy group now headed by Rosie Wait.

He stated, “But his ambitions were always more than just doing the strategy”. The Engineering Director also expressed joy at Vowles finding success at Williams, acknowledging the void he left at Mercedes but recognizing the larger impact he's now making.

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