James Vowles says Williams is not just looking at F1 2024 but also towards the following two years as he notes on the technical team.
With only handful of races left in the 2023 F1 season, most have started to look beyond at the 2024 season for which they are testing items on track to collect data and work on it to improve next year. Some teams do have bigger updates still but some will not.
There will be still few smaller things until the end which won’t bring large impact and Williams have decided that way. Vowles says the team is not just looking at 2024 but beyond that towards 2025 and also 2026 when the current cycle ends.
Williams has been on a downward scale for the past few years but this year, they have done much better as it sits seventh with 21 points. They could have continued with updates in 2023 but they are to make some bigger changes which needs production time.
“The car we have, that’s it,” said Vowles. “Unlike Haas (and few others), who I think are a fierce adversary, a fierce fight, we don’t have anything more coming for the remainder of the year. So, we have to try and pick up the points that are going to be available to us when they’re going to be available to us.
“The focus – and not just now, but actually from a while back – has been on ’24, and actually part of the focus on ’25 and on ’26 as well. At the moment, we’re in a fierce battle for this 10th, ninth, eighth, seventh. I want the team, for them, and for me as well to be in a fierce battle for positions above there.
“And you can’t do that by continuously developing what you have at the moment. You do that by thinking forward into the future, and that will have a cost associated with it, potentially even going backwards for a year, but to go forwards again in the future. There’s too much that we’re changing, as a fundamental, and you can’t do the two things at the same time.
“I’d much rather focus on breaking systems and rebuilding them rather than trying to make do,” summed up Vowles, who is not just looking at changes on the car side but also the culture and different departments that connects the team and makes it a unit.
Since his joining, there have been new hiring with Pat Fry being the latest to join as its technical head. But his influence won’t be there for 2024 considering he has still time to join while serving his gardening leave after leaving Alpine.
Dave Warner is the interim technical boss until Fry joins in to bring any changes to the second part of the 2024 F1 season. They are banking on a long-term solution situation with the arrival of the experienced Fry, who has seen several eras.
“Pat [Fry] won’t be here with us in time to really have an influence on certainly the early elements of next year’s car,” said Vowles. “I’ve formed a group of individuals, which includes some strong people from aerodynamics, Dave Warner, who’s acting as our interim technical director, myself as well, Dave Robson who’s at the track.
“And effectively it’s not the optimum way of doing it but there are a group of individuals that are basically agreeing the direction of travel that we should be going in. All of us sensible decision-makers but it means we’re united in our view of where we’re going. And I think thus far, to a certain extent, what you see right now has been the formation of that, and it’s in the right direction of travel but clearly it’s not a long-term solution.
“The long-term solution is having Pat come in and basically have a lot more hold on the reins of that direction of travel. But what I needed more than anything else when I joined was having the ability to link up all of the parts of the organisation so we’re pushing in the same direction, which is now what’s happening – and I’m comfortable it’ll produce a sensible step as we go through it,” summed up Vowles.
Here’s Alexander Albon, Lando Norris on their incident