Williams confirms Capito to become CEO, Roberts remains team principal

2021 F1 season

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Jost Capito, who oversaw Volkswagen’s highly successful World Rally Championship programme, will join Williams as its CEO in the new year.

The 62-year-old took Volkswagen to consecutive World Rally Championship successes between 2013 and 2015. He spent a short spell in charge of McLaren’s F1 operation in 2016 but was replaced in a management shake-up after Zak Brown took over in charge of the team. He subsequently returned to Volkswagen.

Capito’s appointment forms part of wider management changes at Williams as it seeks to return to competitiveness. The team, which finish last in the constructors championship for the third year in a row this season, was sold by the Williams family to new owners Dorilton in August.

The team also confirmed Simon Roberts, who took over as acting team principal following the sale, will continue in the role on a permanent basis. He will report to Capito, who reports to Matthew Savage, the team’s chairman.

Savage said Capito is “an experienced and competitive individual who has built winning teams and is a winner in his own right.

“He understands the Williams heritage and will work well with the team in pursuit of our objective to return to the front of the grid.”

Capito said it is a “great honour for me to join Williams during these exciting and demanding times for both the team and for Formula 1.

“It is an honour to be a part of the future of this storied team, and one that carries such a poignant name in the sport, so I approach this challenge with great respect and with a huge amount of relish.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Williams confirms Capito to become CEO, Roberts remains team principal”

  1. This looks like a promising development on the face of it. Jean Todt came to F1 with the experience of running a rally team and he did quite well for himself. As a CEO obviously the role will be more limited than a team principal, but given Roberts’s inexperience having a figure like Capito might not be a bad idea at all. Good to see Williams’s new owners are able to attract serious names to the team. With Haas having 2 inexperienced drivers and Alfa having two uninspiring ones (not to mention the Ferrari PU which, let’s face it, will need more than one off-season to be restored to its former glory), Williams might actually have a shot at winning Class C next yea, and maybe snapping at the heels of AlphaTauri and Ferrari a bit more often than in 2020. I just wish they had a better second driver.

    1. Dorilton is doing what everyone expected them to do, what the fia wanted them to do, what other teams want to see happen. The bar for new entries was raised for this purpose. In order for a new team to come to f1, it is better to buy a current team. Dorilton’s goal is to sell the team to a manufacturer. Capito is a bridge.

      1. @peartree I feel you could be very much on point with that statement. Porsche are believed to have prototyped the current PU and with VW group heading back into other sports, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they initially teamed up with RBR to get into F1 and develop their PU ready for the changeover…

        1. @maddme Vw partnering RB was a rumour for a very long time, a rumour confirmed a while ago, reportedly vw was going to announce an f1 project just when dieselgate exploded. One thing is certain nobody is going to pay £200m for an entry when you can buy a team and assets for the same or even less. Haas was on the brink as Steiner put it, maybe this idea has kept a few teams on the grid.

          1. @peartree Indeed they were…

  2. A very interesting appointment. It will be good to see what sort of influence he can have on the team, he’s a very successful guy so hopefully he can steer the team in the right direction.

    I also like the decision to stick with Roberts as team principal, he’s also massively experienced and, unlike Capito, he is an F1 chap.

  3. A good sign, solid manager IMO.

  4. Now it’s Rebuilding Williams Racing.

  5. The photo I get on my RSS feed for this post could be captioned:
    “CEO of what?”

  6. Does anyone know why he was dismissed from McLaren? I only remember that after Brown coming in, they wanted to simplify the leadership structure, but I don’t recall why he was the one let go, just a few weeks/months after arriving.

    1. @hunocsi He would have been a Ron Dennis appointment presumedly so may not have retained political support or trust of Zak. Not uncommon for senior management clear-outs if new CEO installed etc as will want their own people they trust.

      For this reason, I hope that Capito appointed Roberts and wasn’t forced on him. Otherwise if things go south Roberts will be an easy scapegoat if Capito needs an excuse to make a change for someone he trusts.

      1. @chimaera2003 there was also a problem that Capito didn’t really have a properly defined role at McLaren either.

        There was a suggestion that Ron Dennis had been planning to change the management structure of the team, and he was planning to create a new role for Capito. However, when Ron was ousted, his plans for restructuring the team were shelved – so the role Capito was meant to take on also disappeared.

  7. Great because that Williams is quite fast for a WRC car.

    In any case good to see career leaders taking over Williams team. I will be observing with intrest the extent and effort backmaker teams will do to beat Ferrari next year.

    1. When you talk about Williams like it’s Minardi, first I was shocked but then after looking at your “verstappenfan” nickname, I find out the reason…Probably a new kid who’s started watching this sport a few yrs ago so doesn’t know what’s his talking about when speaking about Williams.

  8. It was interesting to hear some of George Russell’s comments about driving the Mercedes W11 compared to the FW43. Hopefully the new management will take some of those comments to heart and that the FW44 will be even better than was intended.

  9. Seems he is starting in February, so whatever improvements he can bring to Williams is likely to be more for 2022 onwards so don’t get your hopes up too much for 2021.

    That said, I am a rally fan and admire the success Capito had in the WRC. He upped the entire game and showed that there was a whole other level of competitiveness available in the sport, and thus was the step ahead of the competition needed to dominate at the time. I think he will bring incredible structuring skills to a Williams team in great need of it. That won’t catapult them from the bottom straight to the top, but I’m sure it will get them moving faster in the right direction. Great news!

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