Vowles praises F1 regulations for promoting changes to pecking order throughout season
Williams team boss James Vowles believes Formula 1 is now starting to benefit from a recent regulation overhaul after a 2023 season featuring plenty of changes to the pecking order.
In 2021, F1 introduced a host of new measures aimed at reducing costs, making both teams and the championship more sustainable, while also promoting a more level-playing field and, as a result, more competitive and unpredictable racing.
Alongside a cost cap, a new sliding scale for aerodynamic testing arrived, based on the championship position at the end of the previous season before being reset midway through each year to reflect the current state of play.
While Red Bull dominated proceedings up front last year, the battle behind saw plenty of movement, including a winter surge from Aston Martin and then similarly impressive gains from McLaren as the campaign wore on.
“What I like about the season is McLaren have shown you how they can go from the back to the front, AlphaTauri have shown you how you can develop the car and move forward,” said Vowles, referencing Williams’ close battle with the latter for P7 in the constructors’ championship.
“We have to a certain extent as well; we were a team that wasn’t really scoring points to a team that from the August break onwards has been in and around the points the whole time, so I quite like that about this regulation set that you’re getting teams moving up and down.”
Vowles was speaking as his first season spearheading Williams’ efforts drew to a close and the Briton took a moment to reflect on the experience so far – having helped to move Williams off the foot of the standings.
“I think it’s better than what I was hoping for,” said Vowles, addressing the media alongside Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren counterparts Toto Wolff, Frederic Vasseur and Zak Brown.
“You have to remember I’m sitting on a sofa alongside people where… We were fighting McLaren in Bahrain and they’re fighting for podiums and wins. We have the top [three] in the championship all lined up next to me and that’s the aspiration, to get somewhere there.
“The reality behind it is that there are teams this year, McLaren’s one of them, AlphaTauri is another one of them, that are putting huge performance on the car and starting to fight with the giants. Our aspirations are very clearly to keep moving forward in the way that we have.
“Now, Williams has gone from not scoring points to scoring at near enough most events, or having the ability to score, so that’s a very different circumstance to where we were 12 months ago.
“But, as I said, our aspiration is to keep moving up the grid, beyond where we are now. And that’s going to take a lot more effort from where we are.”