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Formula 1 Dutch GP

Vowles explains how Williams is designing an F1 car with no tech team

Williams Formula 1 boss James Vowles has explained how the team has worked to design its 2024 car despite having no permanent technical chiefs in place.

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing, in the team prinicpals Press Conference

The team has been without a technical leader since the December exit of Francois-Xavier Demaison, although Williams announced earlier this month that it had signed Alpine veteran engineer Pat Fry as its chief technical officer, but he will not start until the winter.

The team is also still yet to appoint a technical director - likely to be a rival’s design second-in-command looking for a leading role – as it conceives the 2024 challenger.

With work already well under way on the new car, Vowles has revealed that he has effectively assembled a committee to devise the early development.

He explained: “Pat [Fry] won’t be here with us in time to really have an influence on certainly the early elements of next year’s car.

“I’ve formed a group of individuals, which includes some strong people from aerodynamics: Dave Warner, who’s acting as our interim technical director, myself as well, Dave Robson [head of vehicle performance].

“It’s not the optimum way of doing it but there are a group of individuals that are basically agreeing the direction of travel that we should be going in.

“All of us are sensible decision-makers but it means we’re united in our view of where we’re going.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Vowles recognised that the current division of labour was not a “long-term solution” but more of a stopgap until Fry takes full control.

He continued: “It’s in the right direction of travel but clearly, it’s not a long-term solution.

“The long-term solution is having Pat come in and basically have a lot more hold on the reins of that direction of travel.”

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Vowles also confirmed that the current car would not gain any further upgrades for the rest of the season as Williams instead piles resources into next year as part of a bigger change in the "fundamental" design concept.

The former Mercedes strategy head said: “The car we have, that’s it… we don’t have anything more coming for the remainder of the year.

“The focus - and not just now, but actually from a while back - has been on ’24, and actually part of the focus on ’25 and on ’26 as well.

“There's too much that we're changing, as a fundamental…

“I’d much rather focus on breaking systems and rebuilding them, rather than trying to make do.”

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