James Vowles dismisses ‘mini Mercedes’ claim

James Vowles will join Williams as their new team principal in February, leaving his role as Mercedes’ strategy director.

James Vowles has become an infamous figure in Formula 1 in recent years, with his ‘it’s James’ moments gaining him cult hero status from fans.

The 43-year-old’s move to Williams means the team principal ‘silly season’ is nearly complete, as now only Alfa Romeo have a vacant position for a new boss.

The Williams’ team principal position was made available when Jost Capito and technical director Fracois-Xavier Demaison’s departures from the team were shocking announced in December.

Mercedes and Williams have a long-held and mutual beneficial partnership, with Valtteri Bottas and George Russell both making moves to the Silver Arrows after impressing with Williams.

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Despite this positive relationship and the fact that Vowles is leaving his role as strategy director of Mercedes to embark on his new journey, the Brit has denied rumours that he will run Williams as a ‘mini-Mercedes’.

“I wouldn’t consider it a mini-Mercedes. Williams is an incredibly independent team in its own right that has formed its own history, its own heritage,” said the team’s new boss.

“When we asked our senior leadership team, what’s the most important element of the team, it will always come back to two things at Mercedes: people and culture.

“Now we’ll see before setting foot in there, I’m unsure where we are at the moment, but it is the highest thing on my prioity list, making sure that everyone understands that it’s about working together.

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“It’s about empowerment, it’s about treating your colleagues with the respect that you want to get back from them, the growth you want back from them, so that we can work together towards an end goal.”

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Williams have struggled to recreate any of their glory days in recent years, often being seen fighting at the back of the grid despite being one of F1’s most historic and successful teams.

Fans of the team have every right to be excited in 2023 however, as Williams have a promising driver lineup of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, after the rookie was able to secure enough super licence points to race in Formula 1.

Vowles will be hoping to implement some of the winning mentality and efficiency that he was a part of with Mercedes, as his new team look to become a regular points contender in the next couple of years.