Williams’ new team principal James Vowles has revealed that he spoke to Lewis Hamilton on the phone to tell him personally that he’d be leaving Mercedes to take up the vacant role at Williams, with the seven-time World Champion hailing his switch as “amazing”.
Vowles has played an integral part of Mercedes’ domination, with the Brit having even been part of the Brackley-based team when they were known as Brawn GP in 2009.
He remained with the team whilst Mercedes bought-out Ross Brawn’s side and has enjoyed a lengthy-stint as the outfit’s chief strategist.
His departure from Mercedes will come as a huge loss for the Silver Arrows, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Vowles having called Hamilton together to break the news to the 38-year-old.
“I told him this week that this was going to happen and he is absolutely fine,” Wolff said.
“Working with James has always been a great pleasure for him. The clever thinking on a Sunday morning, that was good fun with James always.
“I think his first response was ‘That’s amazing for James’.”
Vowles added: “For what it’s worth, I called him and those were the first words that came out of his mouth.
“Not insulting me or telling me he’s disappointed, it was quite the opposite.
“In fact, I’d probably say throughout Mercedes I’ve had the fortune that near enough everyone I’ve spoken to has just been incredibly happy.”
Once Vowles’ switch was made public, Hamilton shared a message on social media where he thanked Vowles “for everything” and added that he “couldn’t be happier” to see Vowles replacing Jost Capito.
“Together we have won over 80 races and 15 titles,” Hamilton wrote on social media.
“This is such a great move and I couldn’t be happier for him.
“We all need to change in order to progress and I’m confident that he’ll push Williams forward to being more competitive. There is nobody more deserving of this role.
“Thanks for everything, James. Wishing you the best, brother.”
Vowles’ switch to Williams comes on the back of the Grove-based outfit having returned to the foot of the Constructors’ Championship in 2022, following a disappointing campaign.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, though, there is much to be excited about, given their talented driver line-up of Alex Albon and rookie Logan Sargeant.
There are also huge sponsor and partner changes coming to Williams, according to reports, with Gulf Oil and Porsche having been linked to the historic side.