James Vowles, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

Vowles ‘didn’t sleep for days at a time’ in first season in charge at Williams

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In the round-up: James Vowles says he did not sleep for “days at a time”

In brief

Vowles up for “days at a time”

James Vowles admits that he did not sleep for “days at a time” last season due to the pressures of being Williams team principal.

Vowles joined the team from Mercedes as its team principal at the beginning of last season. The team jumped from tenth in the championship in 2022 to seventh last year.

“In terms of me personally, perhaps I didn’t recognise to an extent the weight that applies to your shoulders,” Vowles said. “We push things right to the limit and very late, there’s no doubt about it.

“There were times where I don’t mind admitting I wasn’t sleeping for probably days at a time, because the weight of a thousand people falls on your shoulders. But 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.”

Ferrari junior Taponen has one hand on FRMEC title

Ferrari academy driver Tuukka Taponen extended his healthy championship advantage in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship to 50 points after a dominant display in the third and final race of the weekend at Yas Marina yesterday.

After Rafael Camara took victory in the first of Saturday’s two races ahead of McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu and Zachary David, Taponen led every lap of race three from pole position, leading home former Ferrari junior James Wharton in second with David finishing third again.

Taponen looks set to win the championship next weekend over the final three races in Dubai with a 50 point lead over Taylor Barnard.

Bilinski takes yet another FROC win

Formula Regional Oceania Championship standings leader Roman Bilinski added yet another win to his tally as he move even further ahead in the championship standings at Ruapuna.

With his sixth win from the first ten races in the championship, Bilinski now holds a 54-point lead in the drivers’ standings. There are two further races on Sunday.

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Comment of the day

With Pierre Gasly saying he feels in a “much better place” at Alpine this season, Sonny Crockett can’t resist a cheeky dig…

Fernando Alonso feels in a much better place too. Aston Martin.
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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “Vowles ‘didn’t sleep for days at a time’ in first season in charge at Williams”

  1. James, for your own sake, make sure you sleep.

    1. Yeah, this really isn’t a good idea. People need to sleep. I’m sure he’s exaggerating to emphasise his point, but it’s not something to celebrate regardless.

      Still, unfortunate comments aside, he seems to be making a genuine attempt to turn the Williams ship around, which can only be a good thing for F1.

  2. We push things right to the limit and very late

    Fortunately not Paddy levels of late. There’s a fine line between just in time and forced to resign.

  3. I’ve got a lot of time for James Vowles. He seems like one of the good guys and a positive influence on Williams. I’m sure some people will say that him not sleeping is a sign of weakness, but I think it’s really important to see that sometimes people at the top genuinely care and can be just as susceptible to things like stress and anxiety as the rest of us.

  4. If he indeed literally didn’t sleep at all without getting too tired to do anything, he must be very strong mentally.

    Mirror: As Red Bull isn’t an organization known to give second chances in their main team to demoted drivers, I highly doubt they’d suddenly make an exception, especially considering his subpar performance in 2020 was comparatively worse than Gasly’s in 2019 (not to mention Kvyat didn’t even underperform per se, for that matter), given how much more time & support, including getting a more experienced race engineer during the season, he received yet continued to underperform, so doubtful.
    All in all, he had his chance & he eventually blew it, which is something even Marko stated at one point.

  5. I think the bigger problem for Red Bull will be that if Horner goes, how long will Newey stick around? He’s nearly retired from F1 a few times already

    1. The biggest problem is: what will this racing website post as soon as this is resolved one way or the other.

      But it seems they are already perusing the Mirror for other stories.

      1. Big old man shouts at clouds energy

  6. Valtteri is looking more and more like a cheap Porn star with every passing year!

    I love the guy …. but not in that way :O ;)

    Reply moderated
    1. His 20-year-old Aussie bogan look is fascinating. Talk about a mid life crisis…

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