F1 team asks FIA for permission to breach budget cap

Williams are supposedly working with equipment over 20 years old, according to boss James Vowles.

Williams team principal James Vowles has revealed that the Grove-based team have asked the FIA if they can breach the budget cap, in an attempt to “catch back up”.

Ahead of last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Williams sat last in the Constructors’ Championship, the same position they finished in last season.

They have since risen off the bottom following a sensational performance by Alex Albon on Sunday, where he defended like a lion to finish seventh.

He certainly made the most of the team’s new upgrades, which had only been fitted to his car.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Logan Sargeant wasn’t given the substantial updates and ultimately retired from the race.

Williams simply weren’t in a position to introduce the upgrades to both cars, with Vowles having admitted that some of the team’s infrastructure is “20 years out of date”.

This has seen Williams fall behind in the development race, making a push to become a midfield team very challenging.

Albon has often driven his FW45 like a man possessed, something George Russell often did prior to switching to Mercedes.

Article continues below

In order to contest the top 10 at every race, upgrades to their infrastructure are essential; however, this costs an incredible amount of money.

Not everything needs upgrading at Williams, but certainly a lot of facilities have been “preserved”.

“Some elements of the organisation are of a similar level to Mercedes, but there are some elements that are 20 years out of date,” Vowles told Motorsport.com.

“That makes sense if you think through the history of this team. The investment it had was zero for around about 20 years and then an investment firm came through.

“Fundamentally, we’re in a situation where a lot of facilities were almost preserved from where they were 20 years ago. Composites is behind what I knew when I first joined the sport with a different team 20 years ago…”

It’s not just new equipment that Williams need to truly make that next big step towards the midfield, they also need employee improvements.

Vowles wants his staff to have the “equipment” to guide them “down the pathway” to success, with current tasks being significantly harder due to what Williams’ staff have become used to working with.

“f you took a group of people and hid them away, and another group of people hid them away, they evolve to different stages,” Vowles added.

“That’s what’s happened, the view of what excellence is is completely different to what it really is today, and you have to move things forward. Internally, a lot of the work I’ve been asking them to do has been likened to asking us to do three years of development in six months. Yes, but that’s the standard. In fact, the standard is higher than that.

“This is where I think we have to have a middle step. You have to show people the pathway, lead them down the pathway and make sure you support them and provide them with the equipment that allows them to do the same thing.”

With so much needing to be done, Vowles is expecting to receive approval from the governing “by July” to overspend.

The team boss has remarkably shown the FIA how far behind Williams are compared to the likes of Mercedes, in terms of infrastructure and equipment.

He admits that based on what they’re currently working with, they have “zero chance” of catching the pack, something he told the FIA.

READ: Max Verstappen to be handed blow over Dutch GP

“Formula 1 and the FIA have been very supportive,” Vowles said.

“Within the first week of being here, I showed them, ‘This what I had a Mercedes, here’s what I have at Williams. There’s zero chance that we will be able to compete with this.’

“And I think where we are now is that by July that will be signed and teams like ourselves will be able to invest to catch back up.”