Williams team principal James Vowles has openly admitted to countless sleepless nights as the team intensely developed its 2024 contender, feeling “the weight of a 1,000 people” fall on his shoulders.
"Pushing boundaries" is the mantra driving Williams’ 2024 campaign, aiming to propel the British outfit up the grid to reclaim its championship glory days after years of rebuilding.
Vowles himself embodies the team's dedication, confessing to sleepless nights during the FW46's development. The pressure is real.
Last week's unveiling of the FW46 in New York offered a glimpse into Williams’ strategy: a modern take on a classic livery, hinting at a blend of heritage and innovation. But the true test lies hidden beneath the covers, waiting to be revealed in Bahrain's pre-season testing.
Vowles' anxiety during development isn't surprising. Williams finished a respectable seventh in 2023, but the team has set its sights much higher for the upcoming season.
This ambition, however, comes with its own set of pressures, as the Briton acknowledges the weight of expectation.
“In terms of me personally, perhaps I didn’t recognise to an extent the weight that applies to your shoulders, but we pushed things right to the limit and very late, there is no doubt about it," Vowles told the media last week.
“There were times where I don’t mind admitting I wasn’t sleeping for probably days at a time, because the weight of a 1,000 people falls on your shoulders.
"I’m confident that what we are doing is right for the future and that confidence is what allows me to get all of the team together and talk it through, which is what we’ve done over the last few weeks, and then come together as a group and end up with the car that has fired up, which is a momentous occasion.”
As alluded upon, Vowles, isn't just aiming for incremental progress in 2024; he's demanding a complete paradigm shift.
But “pushing boundaries” often means venturing into uncharted territory, risking setbacks but potentially reaping significant rewards. The upcoming season will be a testament to that gamble.
"I made it clear to the organisation that the weight of failure rests on my shoulders, and don't want anyone else to be restrained by the fear of failure, or anyone to be restrained by the fear of pushing outside the boundaries of what they're comfortable with, " explained Vowles.
"Now is the time, and you have my support, to break from what you know and go back to the fundamentals and start again.
"So the moving forwards is not being satisfied with being eighth or seventh. I'll only be satisfied when we're fighting for World Championships and winning championships."