‘Like a divorce’: James Vowles opens up on Mercedes exit as he denies claim

James Vowles will join Williams as their team principal at the start of next month.

After a month of waiting, Williams finally have a new team principal, in the form of Mercedes strategy director James Vowles.

Jost Capito departed the team alongside technical director François-Xavier Damaison at the end of 2022 as a shock part of the team principal ‘silly season’, leaving fans to wonder who would set up to the role with the team.

Mercedes have a long and successful partnership, with Valtteri Bottas and George Russell both making moves from the team to the Silver Arrows in recent years as part of this relationship.

Having been with Mercedes ever since they entered Formula 1 in 2010, Vowles will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from his very successful time with the Silver Arrows.

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While a move from being a strategy director to a team principal may seem as a massive leap, Vowles has explained that he has been working towards this role for a while and that he feels more than ready for his Mercedes ‘divorce’.

“Fortunately, I’m not seeing it… it is a leap, it is a jump, but I don’t think it’s a massive leap,” he claimed.

“I think this journey towards team principal has been one that has been in my head for many years, and Toto and Mercedes have been incredibly kind in order to provide me a pathway to get there.

“However, it’s the same if I asked any of you to change what you’re doing and move onto a different organisation, even perhaps if you’re doing the same job.

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“The best analogy I can use so far is almost like a divorce. It’s hard. That’s a lot of people that are incredibly close to me, that I’ve grown up with.

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“But I’m going into an arena that has people that are just as motivated, just as committed, and just as hungry for success.”

The 43-year-old has been the mastermind behind some of the strategic masterclasses that Mercedes have completed in recent years, often outwitting the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari in order to achieve their consistent dominance over the last decade.

Williams will be hoping that the arrivals of James Vowles and Logan Sargeant can spark some new life into the team, after languishing as the back of the grid for the majority of 2022.