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Wolff could not stop Vowles 'reaching for the stars'

Long-time Mercedes strategist James Vowles is set to head to Williams to become the new team boss.

Toto Wolff says he could not stop James Vowles "reaching out for the stars" following the latter's appointment as Williams Formula 1 Team Principal. It was announced on 13 January that former Mercedes strategy chief Vowles had been appointed as Williams boss, effective 20 February to replace Jost Capito who resigned in December. Vowles had spent over 20 years at Brackley through their guises as Honda, Brawn and latterly Mercedes, being a part of 17 world titles and over 120 Grand Prix victories. He had stepped up to be the de facto leader of Mercedes at races Wolff had skipped, such as Brazil in 2022, and Wolff believes it would not have been right for him to stand in Vowles' way in taking his new role.

Wolff could not stop Vowles

"James going to Williams is very good for Formula 1 overall because he's not ego driven, he's rational and he knows what he wants," Wolff told media including RacingNews365.com. "It's good for the Williams organisation and where Formula 1 needs to head to, so there are many more pros in James leaving and becoming a team principal than the negatives from a personal side. "He will obviously be missed after working closely with him for many, many years. "The two of us, plus others, but mostly the two of us have a strong alliance and [have been] strong sparring partners when making difficult calls in the race and we almost never disagreed. "James was flying the plane and I was trying to be that sounding partner. It definitely is a loss from a personal standpoint and from a professional one of him being the chief strategist. "This is what he deserves and you cannot stop somehow that is reaching out for the stars. You just need to embrace it."

Vowles already doing team principal work

Wolff further explained that as Mercedes developed during their long dominance of F1, Vowles would be given extra responsibilities which already made him similar to a Team Principal. "I think one of the successes in our team was repeating the words 'planning succession'," Wolff added. "It's clear that you can't freeze a successful structure, but you need to almost reinvent yourself whilst keeping what is good. "With James, we always had a very open discussion where the past would [ultimately] lead him. "The strategy was his core activity and then we kept adding responsibilities to his job, and some of that was already a team principal's work. "Therefore, we knew that this was going to happen, it could have happened at Mercedes, and now it happened with another team. "James leaving opens up that succession planning that we have always cherished and good people will make their own way in their careers."

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