Alex Albon and Lewis Hamilton have lavished praise on the impact James Vowles has made at Williams since his arrival at the team.
After slumping to the foot of the standings for the fourth time in five years last term, Williams owners Dorilton Capital pinpointed then Mercedes Strategy Director Vowles to replace the outgoing Jost Capito.
Vowles has inspired an immediate upturn in results for the Grove-based squad, who currently sit seventh in the Constructors’ Championship on 21 points.
Albon, who has scored the entirety of Williams’ points to date, has hailed Vowles’ short-term impact and is optimistic the team will make even bigger strides forward under his guidance in the years to come.
“James is great,” Albon said on Thursday at Monza when asked about his team boss. “Obviously, he’s come from Mercedes, he most probably was part of Lewis’ contract back in the day, but he’s come along, he’s got a lot of experience coming from Mercedes.
“I’ve said it a few times now, but I think honestly, the best of James is possibly still to come. I think that a lot of the stuff that we’re doing right now is short-term goals that we’ve been able to do obviously, things like tyres or whatever strategy he has prior knowledge, quick knowledge that you can get overnight, almost.
“But the real big things, the big ticket items are going to come next year, the year after that, and that’s what I’m excited to see. I’m really excited to see what direction he’s going to take the team.”
“Speaking to him, he obviously has a close connection with drivers,” he continued. “And he does do a bit of driving himself so he gets this, he understands the language that we talk.
“We talk about it a lot at Williams, but we do have some characteristic problems in our car and hopefully if we can get them out of the way, I think we’re going to make a good step.
“It shows at tracks like Zandvoort, when we don’t have so many limited corners, we can be right up there. So let’s see.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton, also present in the press conference ahead of last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, admits he has been delighted to see his “exceptional” ex-team member restoring Williams on the path to potentially achieving its former glories.
Before taking on the mantle of team boss at Williams, Vowles had begun his Formula 1 career with the Brackley-based outfit in 2001, remaining throughout its various name changes to play a key role in Mercedes’ record-breaking success from 2014-20.
“Well, James is exceptional and we had an amazing journey together, we achieve so much together. And we still have a very good friendship,” Hamilton added.
“And I remember getting the message from… I remember him being in the role and realising there was nowhere for him to really progress within the system. And I knew that just it was a matter of time that he would break away and this opportunity came up, it was so great and so right for him.
“And obviously, so many people questioned whether he could do it and you’re seeing such a great impact that he’s having there. He’s got such a great mindset.
“For us, it’s not that… of course we miss people that we lose but we’re very proud of people coming through, having a good time and having that success and carrying that on in their careers.
“And I think James was very much a part of setting up what the system we have within our team. So we’re operating off some of his philosophy and we’ll continue to do so.
“But I really, really hope that… and I’m excited to see the progress that they’re making there and I can’t wait to see Williams come further up. When you [Albon] guys were up and in the top three last week, it was kind of cool, because when we were growing up Williams were right up there, so really happy for them and look forward to racing them soon.”