James Vowles reveals why he is ‘counting down the days’

Williams Racing have been without a chief technical officer since Paddy Lowe departed in 2019.

Williams team principal James Vowles is “counting down the days” until Pat Fry joins the side as their new chief technical officer (CTO), something which will take place on November 1.

Fry is joining the Grove-based team after departing Alpine following the Belgian Grand Prix, alongside Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane.

He held the CTO role at Alpine from 2022, with him set to become William’s first CTO since 2019.

Williams haven’t had anyone fill the role since Paddy Lowe left in 2019, with the signing of Fry to take the CTO role showing Williams’ intent to make progress.

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Vowles is excited for Fry’s arrival and is looking forward to not having to manage the position himself, as everything is starting to come together for the outfit ahead of 2024.

“Definitely counting down the days. As much as I have tried my best, I need someone who is far better than me in that role,” Vowles said, as reported by the official F1 website.

“We’ve brought together a really good group of individuals at Williams, and we are working together. In part, I have sadness because I have to start letting go of that side of things. With 2024 though, the dye is pretty much set in the direction of travel.

“This chassis will already, by the time he comes through the door, be most of the way produced. It has to be. That’s what the timelines are for these things, which means you define some of the big elements to things.

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“The aero package again will be most of the way through development, even though it’s going to be for next year. But the impact – and I’ve said it all along – I’m not interested in short term, I’m interested in the long term. So, he will already, in the 2024 season, have a positive effect but that real effect will kick in in ’25, ’26, [2027].”

Vowles has led Williams tremendously since replacing Jost Capito, who departed following the conclusion of the 2022 season.

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In what is his first job as a team principal, Vowles has helped Williams progress up the leaderboard, with the British side currently sitting seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

Keeping hold of P7 for the remainder of the season will be a huge accomplishment for Williams who have often found themselves towards the back in recent years, although Alex Albon has put in some excellent results to move the side into the midfield.

Vowles has to take a lot of credit for getting Williams into P7 and onto a genuine path where progress can be made, something which didn’t look possible a few years ago.