Toto Wolff denies James Vowles exit claim

James Vowles will join Williams as their new team principal in February.

With Williams now filling their vacant team principal position with Mercedes strategy director James Vowles, only Alfa Romeo are yet to appoint a new boss for 2023.

Vowles appointment came out of the blue this week, leaving Mercedes without a strategy director with only weeks to go until pre-season begins in Bahrain.

Despite losing a member of staff who has been with Mercedes ever since they joined F1 in 2010, team principal Toto Wolff has claimed that the Silver Arrows will not be hindered by the departure of their strategy director.

“There is no gap left behind, because for many years we have discussed the succession planning in this area,” the Austrian told the media.

READ: James Vowles fires back at claim about Mercedes and Williams

Wolff has claimed that while Vowles was a huge part of Mercedes success, the strategy team beneath him are more than capable of stepping up and filling the void of the new Williams team principal.

“We’ve been very reliant on James’ visibility, and we put an emphasis a few years ago on how that would continue if he one day would decide to do something else, whether within Mercedes or outside. James was very good in setting that up,” he explained.

“We have an extremely talented team or strategists. We have nine people, some very senior, that are not always on the front line, and some that have grown within the organisation.

“They have flown the airplane now alone in the last six months, and before that already very much just under James’ supervision. So I feel very comfortable in the structure going forward. And it’s not that suddenly a big weakness has been created.”

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Wolff has joined Lewis Hamilton and George Russell is wishing Vowles well in his new adventure with Williams, suggesting that the team will be more successful under their new leadership.

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After ending 2021 strongly with George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, Williams were tipped to make huge strides forward in 2022 under the new regulations, but this unfortunately was not the case.

Nicholas Latifi ultimately disappointed as the team finished last in the championship by some margin, leaving the team with no option other than to replace the Canadian with exciting American rookie Logan Sargeant.

James Vowles will take the reins at Williams at the start of February, giving him a limited amount of time to adapt to his new team before F1 heads to Bahrain for pre-season testing.