Former F1 driver suspects “Mercedes element” in James Vowles’s appointment as Williams Team Principal

Karun Chandhok appreciates Williams Racing's decision to hire James Vowles as Team Principal.

Former F1 driver suspects “Mercedes element” in James Vowles’s appointment as Williams Team Principal

Karun Chandhok and James Vowles

James Vowles was recently announced as the Team Principal of Williams Racing. James had previously been a key figurehead at Mercedes, in the German team’s strategic department. Vowles’s appointment was met with raised eyebrows in the F1 paddock as the 43-year-old seemed to have taken up this major role over a fortnight. Former F1 driver and presently a commentator, Karun Chandhom sheds light on his views for the new Williams team boss.


Karun Chandhok spoke on James Vowles’s new role at Williams Racing. Karun mentioned how Vowles’s new job seemed to have come out of the blue. He said, “I think it caught most of the paddock by surprise.” Further, Chandhok speculated whether James’s switch to Williams comes with strengthened ties with Mercedes. He said, “I do wonder if there’s some Mercedes element to this deal.”

James Vowles was earlier the head of strategy at Mercedes

Karun Chandok justified this viewpoint by mentioning James Vowles’s smooth transition to Williams. Vowles joined the British outfit straight away after leaving his former team. Karun elaborated, “Because it’s very rare that you find someone in a senior position of team move across with zero gardening leave.” The former F1 driver appreciated this aspect of the deal. He said, “James has done that. Really a very amicable thing.”

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Karun Chandhok appreciates Williams’s “bold move” to sign James Vowles

The Williams FW45
Williams Racing recently unveiled its livery for the 2023 F1 season

On Williams’s decision to hire James Vowles as its new Team Principal, Chandhok agreed with the choice. He said, “I think it’s a good move. Actually, I like the fact that they’ve gone for a bold move.” Karun Chandhok elaborated on the statement on the basis of James’s lack of experience as an F1 team boss. Karun said, “In terms of someone who hasn’t done this role before.”

Chandhok mentioned that James Vowles can bring in a new perspective to Williams Racing after his successful time at Mercedes. Karun continued, “But someone with an engineering background who recently worked with a top team.” Additionally, Karun Chandhok discussed James’s engineering background to be another factor that can help the British team. He said, “He’s gonna bring in technical knowledge. He’s gonna bring in an understanding of the team structure.”

Subsequently, Karun Chandhok is optimistic about James Vowles’s chances at Williams. Albeit, as a long-term process. He said,”It’s gonna take a long time and a lot of work” Concluding this statement, Chandhok hoped James can get other top F1 talent to his team soon. He continued, “The biggest challenge is how quickly can he poach other top people from other teams.”

Thus, Karun Chandhok thinks of James Vowles’s new role at Williams Racing as a great match. James Vowles has vast experience in F1 and has achieved great success at Mercedes. However, leading an F1 team such as Williams is a whole new challenge altogether. Hence, A lot will be on Vowles’s shoulders this year as he tries to bring his team back to the midfield.


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