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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Vowles: Driver honesty best way of getting new F1 talent

Williams Formula 1 boss James Vowles says he prefers to present a “truthful” long-term vision to prospective drivers rather than offer “fictitious” numbers hoping to sign a top talent.

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing, on the pit wall

In late 2022, the Grove team tied down lead driver Alex Albon on a multi-year contract, but uncertainty surrounds the future of his stablemate Logan Sargeant for next season.

Ex-Mercedes head of strategy Vowles has publicly backed the American, who is yet to score a point during his rookie term but previously axed him from the Silver Arrows junior fold.

With Vowles targeting a five-year recovery plan for Williams to turn it into a competitive force, he said it is better to be honest with interested drivers rather than tempt a headline signing with false claims, only to lose them sooner than anticipated.

Vowles said: “Anything you do that lends them to realise that the numbers are fictitious will give you a short-term gain for a long-term massive deficit, including a loss of a driver.”

Williams has signed Alpine chief technical officer Pat Fry, with Vowles saying he singled the British engineer out in January but it then took three months to convince him to join.

Vowles added that it was his long-term vision for the team that has sold the deal, while Albon remains “very comfortable” with the timeline in view of Williams’ recent progress. The team sits seventh in the standings.

Williams has signed Pat Fry as its new Chief Technical Officer

Williams has signed Pat Fry as its new Chief Technical Officer

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“What I've done with both Pat and Alex as well, is show them why we will be moving forward on the long-term vision,” explained Vowles. “The best thing you can do is ask Alex.

“But you'll find he's very comfortable with where he is at the moment because he can see a) we've delivered across the last six months and what the pathway is across the next few years as well.”

Vowles explained that it was this blend of showing on-track progress while putting the building blocks in place for the future that would stop misled hires from walking out.

He continued: “If you do anything else to them, all you do is at one point they'll be disrupted with 'This isn't the reality of what you promised them'.

“So, this is why the whole way through I've been focusing on the long-term and a truthful analysis of the long-term, but allowing people to buy into that vision.”

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