The absence of a technical leader in the Williams team since the departure of Francois-Xavier Demaison in December has posed a challenge. Williams did announce earlier this month that they had onboarded Pat Fry, a seasoned engineer from Alpine, as the team’s new chief technical officer. Nevertheless, Fry won’t be able to assume his duties until winter.
There’s also a vacant space for a technical director on the team. This coveted position is likely to be filled by a second-in-command design specialist from a rival team who is ready to take on a more prominent role. The new technical director will be instrumental in the creation of the 2024 competitor.
In the meantime, Vowles has taken initiative and set up a committee for early development as the new car’s design is already being worked on. In his own words: “Pat [Fry] won’t be here with us in time to really have an influence on certainly the early elements of next year’s car.”
In absence of Fry, Vowles has assembled a rather impactful group: “I’ve formed a group of individuals, which includes some strong people from aerodynamics: Dave Warner, who’s acting as our interim technical director, myself as well, Dave Robson [head of vehicle performance].”
Assuring the team’s stable and united front, Vowles explains: “It’s not the optimum way of doing it but there are a group of individuals that are basically agreeing the direction of travel that we should be going in. All of us are sensible decision-makers but it means we’re united in our view of where we’re going.”
Vowles admits though that this arrangement is more of a temporary fix and not a “long-term solution”, and eagerly awaits Fry’s full control. He explained further, “The long-term solution is having Pat come in and basically have a lot more hold on the reins of that direction of travel.”
In other news, Vowles confirmed no further upgrades are anticipated for the current car for the rest of the racing season. Instead, Williams is redirecting its resources to the following year’s car, with it undergoing a significant change in its “fundamental” design concept.
“The car we have, that’s it… we don’t have anything more coming for the remainder of the year,” he stated, further adding, “The focus – and not just now, but actually from a while back – has been on ’24, and actually part of the focus on ’25 and on ’26 as well. There’s too much that we’re changing, as a fundamental… I’d much rather focus on breaking systems and rebuilding them rather than trying to make do.”