Croft sees Vowles emerging as top team principal in F1


After James Vowles' remarkable first season at the helm of Williams in 2023, Sky F1 commentator David Croft has tipped the former Mercedes strategist to become one of the sport’s top team principals.

Despite taking over a team that had languished at the bottom of the standings the previous year, Vowles orchestrated a remarkable turnaround, guiding Williams to its strongest campaign in F1 since 2017.

The team secured 28 points and finished seventh in F1’s 2023 Constructors' Championship.

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Croft was effusive in his praise for Vowles' debut season, declaring him "the best team boss of the year", even surpassing Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner.

Croft lauded the Briton’s leadership, strategic acumen, and ability to unite the team behind a common goal.

He further emphasized that Vowles' success at Williams was particularly impressive considering the team's limited resources compared to the front-running teams.

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“He’s my team boss of the year, without a doubt,” Crofty said.

“If you look at the lead time that he had before he took up the role, you’re talking a matter of three months maximum.

“That is not a lot of time to put into operation any sort of plan where you hit the ground running and you get instant results.

“It became quickly apparent to me watching during testing that he was introducing simple tweaks and changes to the way Williams went racing that would make them better right from the start.

“Things that would have been run of the mill behind the scenes at Mercedes for a race team he was now bringing in to Williams to say, ‘look, I know you do it this way, try doing it this way.’

“Behind the scenes, he was also putting into preparation and operation, long-term planning for the future, identifying where he needed key members of technical staff.

“Pat Fry [Chief Technical Officer at Williams] joining was not a surprise to me whatsoever.”

Croft has been impressed by Vowles’ unwavering dedication which he witnessed first hand last spring at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

“He admits to working 16-hour days doing this,” added the Sky F1 commentator.

“We had a great chat in Baku as he was leaving the track and I was walking back to the hotel. It was quite late at night because things in Baku don’t finish until about 8pm.

“I said: ‘You OK?’

“And he went: ‘I’m exhausted, but I’m loving it. I knew this was a big job, but I didn’t realise how big this job was going to be – but I’m absolutely loving it.’

“That was in Baku. We’ve talked a lot since and he’s still really enjoying it. He works brilliantly with the sponsors, he engages with the media, explains things not just about Williams but about what’s going on on track.


“He engages with fans. I love him on social media because he actually gets engages directly with the fans. People are inspired by him.

“I think he will go on to be one of the top team principals at a top team in three or four years’ time. I really do.

“He understands marketing. He is an engineer by trade. He understands strategy. He understands drivers. And he’s beginning to understand the politics.

“James Vowles could be the big team boss of the future. I really hope he will be because he deserves it, because he works tirelessly for success.”

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