Williams F1 Team Turns to Mercedes' James Vowles to Lead Comeback

mercedes amg petronas f1 teams chief stragegist james
Williams F1 Team Turns to Mercedes' James VowlesSOPA Images - Getty Images
  • James Vowles replaces Jost Capito as team principal.

  • Capito departed Williams in December after two years in charge.

  • Vowles led Mercedes’ strategy group during its title-winning spree from 2014 through 2021.

Formula 1’s basement team has appointed one of the architects of Mercedes’ dominant streak as its new team principal.

James Vowles, Mercedes’ Strategy Director, will take up his new role as Williams’ Formula 1 Team Principal on February 20, three days before the start of preseason testing. Vowles replaces Jost Capito in the position, with the German having departed the company in December after two years in charge.

Vowles, 43, began his Formula 1 career with BAR Honda in the 2000s and remained with the operation as it morphed into Honda, Brawn GP and eventually Mercedes.

james vowels williams f1 formula 1
James Vowels is the new head man at Williams.Williams F1 Team

He led Mercedes’ strategy group during its eight-years of F1 Constructors' Championships from 2014 through 2021, often making influential calls, and was de facto on-location leader during the rare weekends when boss Toto Wolff was not present.

“It's an honor to join a team with such an incredibly rich heritage,” said Vowles. “The team is an icon of our sport, one I greatly respect, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. Mercedes have been hugely supportive on my journey, and we part on excellent terms after over 20 years of working in Brackley. I am grateful for everything Toto and the team have provided, and it has been such a special experience to journey together through failure and success.

“Williams Racing have placed their faith and trust in me, and I will do the same in return. Williams has tremendous potential, and our journey together starts in a matter of weeks.”

Wolff described Vowles as “diligent and capable” and added that “while we are naturally sad to be saying goodbye to such a capable member of the team, I have no doubts whatsoever that he has all the necessary skills to become a fantastic team principal in Formula 1.”

Williams finished last in the 2022 championship, the fourth time in five seasons that it finished last in the Constructors' Championship standings. It will enter this season with a partially revised driver lineup of Alexander Albon and American rookie Logan Sargeant, the country’s first driver on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Williams will launch its 2023 livery on February 6 during a virtual ceremony ahead of the car’s on-track debut a few weeks later in Bahrain.