James Vowles, the current head of the Williams Formula 1 team, is resolute in his commitment to honor the team’s storied past, including a special nod to the late founder, Sir Frank Williams, within the 2024 car design.
Sir Frank Williams, who passed away in November 2021 following a lengthy illness, had previously sold the team in 2020 to Dorilton Capital and resigned from his position as Team Principal.
Following Williams’ departure, leadership passed through Simon Roberts and Jost Capito before Vowles, the ex-Mercedes strategy director, assumed control in January 2023.
Under his leadership, Williams achieved a commendable seventh place in the standings during his inaugural season—its most competitive performance since 2017.
Vowles has played a pivotal role in updating the infrastructure and equipment at the team’s Grove headquarters, addressing years of underinvestment that had seen the team’s performance decline.
Despite the team securing only a single Grand Prix win since 2004—courtesy of Pastor Maldonado’s unexpected victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix—Vowles is intent on elevating Williams back to the forefront of F1 competition.
Nevertheless, he insists on respecting the team’s rich legacy in the sport, which boasts 114 Grand Prix victories, nine Constructors’ Championships (trailing only behind Ferrari’s 16), and seven Drivers’ Championships.
This reverence is symbolically represented in the 2024 car’s livery, which incorporates the original Williams logo, a gesture that underscores the team’s enduring respect for its heritage.
Vowles conveyed his fervent support to Williams to the press, “It is one of the biggest brands, certainly in motorsport and the UK, and I have no desire whatsoever to change it because it means a tremendous amount.
“Frank and his legacy remain in us and you will see that in the livery now as well, you see his arrow subtly embedded in there, you’ll see it at Silverstone as well.
“I really wanted his mark on the car to reflect that, I am not here to replace him, I am here to carry on the legacy that is Willias and its huge heritage.
“In the experience center, you can walk around all the cars from 1977 so that’s nearly 50 years worth of cars, of which there are many champions there, it would be a fool who got rid of that because why would you?
“It still creates the brand that is here today, and it is one of our strengths against all others, I still don’t know what AlphaTauri’s new name is.
“I was in an F1 Commission meeting earlier and they mentioned it, and that is part of the problem, it doesn’t have a legacy, doesn’t hold weight in my mind.
“You get legacy through championships, growth, and a tremendous amount of the world following and believing in you.
“Williams means a tremendous amount to me, it is the first team I really followed and it is what I want to retain because it is a strength and not a weakness.”