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Vowles: F1 teams guilty of "recycling" too many motorsport personnel

Williams boss James Vowles has said Formula 1 teams can be guilty of “recycling far too much” when it comes to hiring new personnel.

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

Williams

In his first major signing since taking charge at Grove, ex-Mercedes head of strategy Vowles has recruited veteran engineer Pat Fry as chief technical officer from Alpine.

Vowles has also indicated that the technical director, who will work directly below Fry, is more likely to be another team’s second-in-command awaiting a breakout role.

But, beyond that, Williams is more interested in “diverse thinking” and is willing to look beyond motorsport rather than purely “recycle” from the paddock as other teams chose to.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, Vowles explained: “There are people here who are already part of our organisation from [the World Endurance Championship], from Formula 2, from other institutions.

“There [are] limited [examples], I would say, but you absolutely take them.

“There are areas here in aerodynamics that haven't come from a motorsport background. That's OK.

“We're interested in people that understand flow dynamics and how to work with this empowerment style and open and truthful communication.

“In fact, I think to a certain extent we end up recycling far too much within the sport.”

As part of this open approach to recruitment, Vowles cited newly hired Williams chief operating officer Frederic Brousseau – formerly of famed aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

Frederic Brousseau, Williams Chief Operating Officer

Frederic Brousseau, Williams Chief Operating Officer

Photo by: Williams

Vowles then continued: “There's a very good management committee, despite some individuals not having any motorsport background.

“But I'm always a believer in diverse thinking leads to a better infrastructure globally and that's what we have here.

“When you get into specialist subjects like aerodynamics, you need to be careful to make sure you still mix that with Formula 1 aerodynamics because there's some very specific ways of working. But a mixture is not a bad thing.”

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Vowles added that as Williams seeks to expand “everywhere”, it was more important to have in place a senior leadership structure that would “empower” employees of all experience.

He said: “Everywhere is where we need to grow within Williams. I think that's first and foremost.

“I strongly believe that you lay the foundations for some of the brightest and best that exist within our country and other countries. That forms the basis.

“You just need senior leadership that know how to empower individuals and allow them to grow. So, you put in structures from both ends."

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