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Williams F1 Seeks Technical Director Amid Restructuring Priorities



Williams F1 Seeks Technical Director Amid Restructuring Priorities

Williams F1 team is in search of a new technical director, with team principal James Vowles open to hiring a newcomer or someone with prior Formula 1 experience.

Williams is seeking to hire a technical director for their Formula 1 team, and while team principal James Vowles is considering hiring a new person for the role, he is also open to recruiting someone with prior F1 experience. The team is prioritizing the recruitment of a technical director and head of aero after the departures of Francois-Xavier ‘FX’ Demaison and David Wheater, and Vowles has stated that this is their top priority for restructuring the technical team, as he mentioned during pre-season testing.

In April 2021, Francois-Xavier ‘FX’ Demaison joined Williams at the behest of CEO Jost Capito, with whom he had worked previously in the Volkswagen World Rally Championship team. Despite having some experience in F1 with the Renault and Peugeot Sport engine programmes, Demaison’s career had largely been focused on rallying. In addition to Demaison, Williams also brought in ex-BMW Sauber technical director Willy Rampf as a consultant, but his most recent F1 experience was back in 2010.

Williams F1 Seeks Technical

Capito’s departure had been expected, as he had postponed his retirement to take the Williams job. However, Demaison had been brought in as a long-term technical leader, making his departure at the same time a reflection of the team’s struggles to make progress.

While many F1 teams prioritize hiring experienced F1 professionals for technical director roles, the fact that Demaison had previously held the role at Williams suggests that his lack of relevant F1 experience may have been identified as a problem.

When asked by F1Lead about the team’s requirements for a technical director and whether an experienced one is necessary, Williams’ team principal James Vowles emphasized the importance of promoting growth within the sport.

Williams F1 Seeks Technical

Vowles stated that the team is seeking a technical director with prior Formula 1 experience, and that they would not consider someone from outside of the sport. He also explained that the team would consider both experienced candidates who may be seeking a change, as well as individuals who have not yet had the opportunity to become a technical director but have the necessary ability and potential.

Williams F1 Seeks Technical

Currently, the interim technical director at Williams is Dave Worner, who also serves as the team’s design director. While hiring a permanent technical leader and head of aero is a priority, Vowles emphasized that Williams will take the necessary time to find the right candidates.

Williams has experienced a series of changes in technical leadership over the past decade, with Sam Michael leaving the role in 2011, followed by Mike Coughlan, Pat Symonds, Paddy Lowe, and Demaison, none of whom held the position for the long term. Therefore, it is crucial for Williams to choose the right candidate for the job.

According to Vowles, Williams is capable of continuing to operate as usual and develop both this year’s car and its 2024 machine during this transitional period while the team focuses on finding the right people for the job. He emphasized that there is no desire to rush the process and take shortcuts.

Vowles stated that the team’s priority is clear, and they will always choose the option that can improve them significantly in the long run, even if it means delaying the benefits for several months or years, rather than making a decision that would only yield a quick improvement in the short term.

Despite the transitional period, Williams will continue to utilize its wind tunnel to evaluate performance in the usual way, allowing the team to add performance to this year’s car. Additionally, Williams will invest in optimizing elements that don’t have a significant impact on next year’s performance package, allowing the team to continue learning and moving forward.

Vowles reiterated that Williams will not rush to fill technical roles with individuals available in the short term, but will instead take the time to find the right people for the job, even if it takes 12 or 24 months. When it comes to the core structures for next year’s chassis, Williams will take its time but ensure it takes chunks of performance along the way.

The primary challenge for Williams now is to identify the right candidate for the technical director role. Although some individuals outside of F1 teams have recent experience in the role, there is no clear standout candidate.

Given the lack of an obvious standout candidate for the technical director role at Williams, Vowles and the team’s owner, Dorilton Capital, may choose to take a similar approach to when they recruited Vowles as team principal and opt for an up-and-comer for the role. This would align with Vowles’ stated belief in promoting growth within the sport and providing opportunities to individuals who have the necessary ability and potential but may not have had the opportunity to become a technical director yet.


Williams F1 Seeks Technical Director Amid Restructuring Priorities Williams F1 Seeks Technical Director Amid Restructuring Priorities Williams F1 Seeks Technical Director Amid Restructuring Priorities