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Vowles plays down early Williams worries

Vowles plays down early Williams worries
© Reuters
James Vowles has played down early worries about Williams' 2024 season.

James Vowles has played down early worries about Williams' 2024 season.

The team was the last to be ready with a vastly-different car for the new world championship, having cancelled an earlier 'shakedown' run.

It finally emerged at Bahrain just ahead of the start of official pre-season testing, but on Wednesday looked fragile in terms of reliability and pace.

It is also rumoured that Williams abandoned a plan to run the rear suspension of the current works Mercedes car, opting instead for the 2023 layout.

"Basically it's too early to say much," Alex Albon reported after Wednesday's limited running, "but it's clear that it is free from a number of shortcomings characteristic of last year's car.

"But it seems that some others have appeared."

Vowles, though, having become Williams' new team boss just a year ago off the back of a renowned engineering career at Mercedes, played down any hint of an early 2024 team crisis.

"Our objective for 2024 is not a certain position in the championship," he told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF in Bahrain. "It's rather the outside view of the team.

"We want people to say 'Ah yes, there is change'. We obviously want results but our goal is to revive this team so that we will be well set up in the future.

"And we are in that direction now," said Vowles, who is just 44. "We still have to change a lot of things but that cannot be done over a year or three. I am very proud of our car for this year.

"It is really different in comparison to previous years. There have been a lot of technical changes. In terms of performance, we'll find out over these next days."

Vowles was also asked about the looming departure from Mercedes of his former colleague Lewis Hamilton.

"For the sport and Ferrari it is very good, but we have to look long term, not only 2025 but also 2026-2027. So it allows Mercedes to create another future from the inside.

"I think it's a very good change for everyone except Mercedes in the next two years," he smiled.

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