James Vowles admits it may take time to power Williams off the back row of the Formula 1 grid.
Last year, the Grove based team slumped to dead last in the constructors’ championship, after which team boss Jost Capito was ousted.
And Marc Surer, a former F1 driver turned German-language broadcaster, expects more of the same struggle in 2023.
“Haas should beat Williams this year,” he told f1-insider.com, “unless Mercedes gives them more support than expected as a customer team.”
Talk of Williams as a Mercedes ‘customer team’ only ramped up when the identity of Capito’s successor as team boss became clear – James Vowles.
The 43-year-old British engineer is famous in the F1 paddock for serving under Toto Wolff as multiple title winner Mercedes’ celebrated chief strategist.
But Vowles has only just started work at Grove – long after Williams’ 2023 car was designed.
“There is no one simple solution that will suddenly make you gain half a second,” he said. “That just doesn’t exist.
“It’s a thousand small details that lead to a small improvement.”
For now, Vowles is getting to know Williams’ team structure and the staff – and is more focused on the future.
“I want to lay a foundation that should enable us to do better in 2024, 2025 and 2026,” he said. “In other words, what I’m trying to do is not focused on the short term, but more on the overall approach that should make us stronger in the coming years.”
However, he insists that Williams is not writing off 2023.
“We will do everything we can to improve, but it is mainly about the long term,” said Vowles.