Williams: It’s controlled chaos ahead of Vowles’ arrival

Williams: It's controlled chaos ahead of Vowles' arrivalWilliams’ Sporting Director Sven Smeets revealed the team was running in “chaos control” mode ahead of the anticipated arrival of new team boss James Vowles.

The once great Formula 1 team, and winner of nine Constructors’ Championships second only to Ferrari who have 16, announced back in December 2022 that team boss Jost Capito will be leaving his position.

One month after the Capito announcement, Williams signed up former Mercedes Chief Strategists James Vowles as the replacement of the German, but is yet to join and will do so on February 20, 2023.

In between, Williams were going through their preparations for the 2023 F1 season, finalizing their new car, the FW45, which they revealed on Monday, as they now set their sights on shaking it down in Silverstone on February 13, and get ready for the test in Bahrain between February 23 and 25.

Sven Smeets reflected on what Williams went through in the buildup for their car launch and ahead of Vowles’ arrival which he described: “It’s controlled chaos, I call it.

“Of course, I mean we have next week – we have a filming day so the car will have a rollout and we’ll have another one in Bahrain before the testing – that we will use, the car will run of course and as Dave [Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance] mentioned, we’ve done some different testing of components, and engine, and all of this,” he explained Speaking at the FW45 launch.

“So, I think we will be really well prepared for Bahrain and yeah, I mean, it’s my second car build now, so I looked at it completely different to when I arrived last year just a few weeks before.

“But, it’s just very busy. Everybody is flat out, we want to have the race quantities [of parts] of course in Bahrain and it seemed a little bit easier last year with the test in Barcelona and then a few weeks and then the test in Bahrain,” Smeets revealed.

Vowles can finish off the journey

Vowels: No mini-Mercedes or B team or any of that

Speaking at the launch event as well, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, reflected on the impending arrival of Vowles.

Robson said: “I think it’s very important for the team to have someone who now finishes off that journey and brings us forward again.”

Here Smeets chimed in saying “And we all knew that was not going to be a one-year journey, so I think James is very eager to start, and he will be very committed to bring Williams forward for the long term. That feels very good.”

The Robson picked up; he said: “When he [Vowles] arrives in a couple of weeks’ time we’ll find out what he’s got planned. I think what he does bring is obviously a wealth of experience from Mercedes and its incarnations before that.

“He knows what it takes to be at the top and stay at the top. I think personally, he’s very ambitious, he’s clearly very smart, so we’re looking forward to getting him onboard and letting him direct us on the next bit of the journey,” Robson maintained.

As for the FW45, Robson said: “It’s philosophically an evolution; visibly, well you’ll see, but obviously the regulation changes around the new floor dominate some of it.

“I think the other thing that you’ll find that is most obvious is a bit of an update to the sidepod package, which as an evolution to what we did for the Silverstone [2022] upgrade package, but we were a bit constrained then by the radiator layout and not wanting to completely change that,” the Williams engineer added.

Williams finished the 2022 F1 season dead last in the Constructors” Standings.