James: “One of our strengths is passion”

Published on
30 Jan 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

Our Team Principal spoke openly on the High Performance Podcast, read some of what he shared

James Vowles recently took some time out of his busy pre-season schedule to speak on the High Performance Podcast.
Our Team Principal covered a whole range of topics, such as his journey into the motorsport industry, his championship successes at Brawn GP and Mercedes, as well as joining Williams Racing.
When discussing why he made the switch from Brackley to Grove, James explained to Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes one of the main driving factors behind his decision.
“You could join an organisation where you have the opportunity to move a few little dials around, just fine tune it,” he commented, adding: “I joined here because we have an opportunity with the right investment, which is what we have, to dig deep, put the foundations down and start rebuilding such that you leave your fingerprint on this sport for many, many years to come.
“And that opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”
He goes on to discuss what his first days and weeks within the team consisted of, following his arrival shortly before the start of pre-season testing in 2023.
“The start of [my time here] was spent finding out what our strengths and weaknesses are,” James commented.
“Every organisation will have strengths and weaknesses, and there are elements here that are stronger than at Mercedes.
“One of our strengths is passion, which is what drives this team. This team has a family feel behind it, which I like.
“But the reason that we had a car out of the door is not because we have digital systems telling us how to build 20,000 parts and how to put them together, it’s because individuals would do whatever it took across a three week period, to get a car out of the door.
“That’s what Williams is, that’s what embodies us, and has embodied us for 20 years or so.”
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James continued to explain how he mapped out his direction of travel for the team over the next few years, before sharing how the 2023 season provided a rare opportunity to better prepare the organisation for the future.
“We highlighted before the season started the races where we are going to be good.
“All the other ones, I want to do learning on those weekends. It is about learning and trying something you haven’t tried before.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a setup direction, a driving style, how we do data, how we use the factory – learn on those weekends.
“Make sure you set out what you are going to learn, and then learn. You’ll never get this opportunity again.
“To the credit of the organisation, there was little resistance. We have a problem at the moment, which is always the same problem… there’s a little bit of a taste of success.
“When there’s a taste of success, you want to hold on to what you’ve got. But putting that into a little bit of context, we scored as many points [in 2023] as a top team would score in one weekend.
“It was a success by the measure of where we were, but it’s not success. I don’t want that for this team. I don’t want that for the future of this team. I want more than that.”
To discover more of what James had to say, you can watch the full episode on the High Performance YouTube channel or it is available on all major podcast platforms.
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