Jan.27 - Mercedes decided to release James Vowles from his contract so that the well-known strategy chief could become Williams' new team boss from 2023.

Initially, some believed Toto Wolff had played a smart strategic move by loaning Vowles to Mercedes-powered Williams to strengthen the teams' political and technical collaborations.

However, Wolff admits that losing Vowles was actually "a surprise".

Williams announces James Vowles as new F1 team principal

James Vowles, Williams Racing team principal

"It came as a surprise," said the Mercedes team boss at the Kitzbuhel world cup skiing event in Austria.

Also in Kitzbuhel are Formula CEO Stefano Domenicali and new Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl.

"Kitzbuhel is like Monaco or the Super Bowl," said Wolff. "It doesn't get much better than that.

"The affinity between motorsport and skiing has always been there - it's all about going fast. That's why half the car industry and motorsport are always on site here."

He admits that various "meetings" take place over the course of the event, but insisted: "It's not like we're going to turn the world upside down because of that."

However, Wolff admitted that Vowles asking to be released so he could replace the ousted Jost Capito as Williams boss "came as quite a surprise".

"Having said that," he told Speed Week, "he is someone who always had this sort of goal in mind, and here (at Mercedes) such a promotion is currently blocked by me.

"James is a very intelligent and rational player, so we let him out of the contract. It's good for Formula 1 as a whole if a man like that makes decisions at Williams."

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6 F1 Fan comments on “Wolff admits losing Vowles' to Williams was 'quite a surprise'

  1. shroppyfly

    As superduper strategy guru (allegedly), id have thought Ferrari would been a better choice , All the strategy in the world cant help you if you've a slow car, or was it a bigger office/pay packet he was after, because unless Williams start finishing regularly in mid field points, even as Boss man, your 1st in line to go, funny how he wasn't mentioned as a possible for any of the other management jobs at other teams, so some kind of secret deal for Williams, I somehow doubt that, and finally Christian said , hed retire if he found someone suitably qualified to replace him, and he couldn't so he re-signed as boss man , ermmm Toto, this is James...!

    • Nobodysperfect

      Hahaha, yep. Must be something like that. James wanted Toto's job, but Toto didn't think he was capable. So James found another team to keep his ambition going.


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