The budget limit in Formula 1 is actually intended to ensure that all teams compete under the same conditions. Williams team boss James Vowles reveals, however, that the cost cap in its current form is only partially effective.
In an interview with “auto motor und sport”, Vowles replied to the question of whether the cost cap would help Williams catch up: “Not with the current construct. We are discussing this with the FIA, Formula 1 and the other teams.”
“If we want a meritocracy, please allow me to spend what money I have to at least match other teams on facilities. That’s the opportunity that would come within the budget cap,” said Vowles.
According to Vowles, catching up is currently “impossible”
Background: The top Formula 1 teams have invested a lot of money in infrastructure and the like in recent years and decades. According to Vowles, the cost cap now prevents teams like Williams from following suit in these areas.
“The wind tunnel is an exception. That’s why Aston Martin can build its own, for example. But that’s the only exception,” says Vowles, who emphasizes: “But if things stay the way they are, it’s almost impossible to catch up.”
Speaking of Aston Martin: The long-time Mercedes chief strategist emphasizes that the other Mercedes customer team is “100 percent” a role model for Williams, because: “It shows what is possible with the right structure.”
“I think they made some smart moves to absorb knowledge from different directions. This team was a good team that has now been built to get into the top 3,” said Vowles.
Vowles: Williams just didn’t have the money
“It gives me courage that we can do the same,” he emphasizes, explaining that the main problem at Williams is that not enough money has been invested in recent years. “If you walk around the factory, you realize that there was a lack of investment,” says Vowles.
“This team has been in survival mode for years. You don’t concern yourself with what will happen in 12, 18 or 24 months. You think about what you have to do tomorrow to get through the day,” explains the new team boss.
“The team was at this point – not only through their own fault, but because of a lack of investment and other things,” he emphasizes, but still assures: “What I’ve seen since then are a lot of people who have their shoulders and heads up.”
“They accept challenges,” he emphasizes and explains: “It’s about us having to redefine where we are, where we need to be and what the path to get there looks like. I have to make sure that everyone goes on this journey.”