Blame for Williams chassis issue is on me – Vowles

Williams team principal James Vowles says he has to take the blame for the lack of a spare chassis that left the team with just one car racing in the Australian Grand Prix.

Alex Albon’s crash in FP1 damaged his chassis, and with Williams still yet to have manufactured a spare, it was left to the team to decide which of the two drivers would get to compete in the rest of the race weekend. Vowles opted to withdraw Logan Sargeant, leaving Albon to take over his teammate’s car and finish 11th in the race. But after describing the situation as “unacceptable,” Vowles says he takes responsibility.

“It lies on me, there’s nowhere else it should ever stop,” Vowles told Speed City Broadcasting. “We’ve changed so much technology within the factory — we’ve changed how we design and produce the chassis, we’ve changed how we do things aerodynamically, we’ve changed how we add performance, how we do upgrades…


“We’ve added process; we’ve added at the same time we’re going to do three cars — not one car — and you would imagine that stretches an organization to the limit.

“In the beginning of the year we were very open and honest — we were so late on the car because we changed so much, and one of the outcomes of that is we couldn’t make an additional chassis. You can’t move forward unless you are prepared to take some massive risks, and we did. But the outcome of it is you play with fire, and that caught us out.”

Shortly after Albon’s crash, Vowles couldn’t guarantee the damaged chassis would be repaired for the following race in Japan, but now believes the required work should be completed in plenty of time.

“I’m confident that we’ll be able to fix the chassis,” he said. “We put measures in place to ensure the chassis was back here very early on Monday morning — I think arrived around 2am or so — and since then there was already crews inside the building working on that, stripping it down and doing repairs.

“We’re in a good place for having the chassis back early enough for Suzuka. A lot of the work’s done actually back in Melbourne; there were photographs and techniques called NDT — non-destructive testing — there’s various ones you can do there, but it allows us to fully understand how big the damage is and what we have to do.

“And that preparation is key. What it meant was already at 2am on Monday, work could start. It wasn’t then a reflection on what was happening, it was more, ‘This is what we’re doing and this is how we execute it.’ So in Suzuka we’ll have two cars without too many issues.”

Story originally appeared on Racer