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Williams

Williams hits out at 'meaningless' long-term goals

Team Principal James Vowles is no fan of five-year plans in F1.

Albon Belgium
Article
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Williams Team Principal James Vowles has said setting long-term targets in F1 is 'remarkably meaningless', and that teams should instead zero in on specific areas that require improvement.

After having finished bottom of the Constructors' Championship in 2022, Vowles moved over from Mercedes to Williams in what is his first Team Principal posting.

Despite his inexperience, Vowles has already overseen an improvement in results, with Williams currently sitting seventh in the 2023 Constructors' standings with 11 points, three more than the team managed across the whole of 2022.

But rather than take a similar approach to the likes of Alpine, whose much-vaunted 100-race timeline to return to the front has not produced much in the way of results, Vowles suggested instead that focusing on key areas of improvement was the way to go.

"As I was interviewed to come here, I gave them a very clear view of how long it would take, and it's a long time," Vowles told Motorsport.com.

"That hasn't changed. Same with Pat [Fry] when he joined. Pat was very clear to me on 'This will take a while'. I said: 'I know, and the board know as well'.

"So, you have to present sensible things but when you're presenting any more than three years out it's just into the unknown. Definitely at five, 100% at 10.

"Setting a target of saying we're going to be third in five years is honestly not the right direction of travel because it's a remarkably meaningless thing."

Williams focusing on infrastructure, technical team

With Williams having been heavily indebted prior to its 2020 takeover by Dorilton Capital, the team's infrastructure was in need of improvement, and Vowles chose to focus on this area, as well as reinforcing its technical team with the capture of Pat Fry from Alpine.

A considerable upgrade to the FW45 was delivered at the Canadian Grand Prix, helping driver Alex Albon to score points there and in Britain to outstrip the team's entire tally from 2022.

"What's more important is showing that you've got structures and systems that lead you towards that in time," said Vowles.

"What you can present more is how I think we can get ourselves on track for that pathway and what are the key milestones that we're looking for on that journey.

"One of this year was showing that we can demonstrably put performance on the car and use it effectively. One of them next year is, demonstrable across the winter, building on that package.

"We'll be doing about 100 other things in the background. That's how you lead towards moving up the grid.

"What I've been very careful about in that is making sure that whatever we're demonstrating and promising is aligned with controlled reality.

"And when it starts to diverge away from it, bring it back to 'This is where we are, and this is where we need to go forward'. And that happened from the outset."

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