With seventh place in the constructors’ championship, Williams secured a few welcome millions more in prize money, but something else is crucial, says the team principal
Although Williams failed to score points at the Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi, an eighth-place finish by Yuki Tsunoda was not enough for AlphaTauri to knock the Grove-based team out of seventh place in the constructors’ championship
This means an additional nine million dollars in prize money for Williams. However, team boss James Vowles emphasizes that the increase in prize money is more than welcome. However, he considers it even more important that the team has achieved its goal for the season.
“The most important thing is probably that it gives the team a foundation to build on,” says Vowles in an interview with Motorsport.com. The prize money alone is not decisive: “You also lose time in the wind tunnel and it’s not the financial element that we are particularly concerned about.”
“I wanted the team to say: this is the start of our journey. And we’re not going to go back from here. This is a new de facto standard and a driver for us. “
Price money bonus particularly important for owners
While the estimated nine million dollar prize money bonus for seventh place will not be a game changer for Williams, as the team needs many times that to compete at the top of Formula One, Vowles says it does have a greater significance for team owners Dorilton Capital.
“It’s always helpful to have money in the bank account. I’ve always been very open about the fact that we’re throwing away tens of millions in terms of losses. But we’re here to invest to get back to the top, whatever that costs us in the short term,” says Vowles.
And that’s where the extra prize money certainly helps with discussions behind the scenes, “when I’m asking for 100 million dollars more – and those are the numbers we’re talking about here,” he explains. “That makes a huge difference.”
The season finale in Abu Dhabi was a nervous race for Williams, who were aware that AlphaTauri’s growing competitiveness meant they had a good chance of taking seventh place in the constructors’ championship after all.
This was confirmed when Tsunoda qualified sixth and even led the race at times with a one-stop strategy. But although it was touch and go, Vowles emphasizes that he remained calm throughout the Grand Prix
Williams team boss: “This is a proud moment “
“Strangely, I don’t really get nervous at races, even when Netflix was filming me,” he says. “I don’t think my facial expressions will be the best at some points, but I came to the conclusion before the race that no matter what happens, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.”
“We mustn’t forget that we finished the development ahead of everyone else, and then I asked the team to please finish seventh.”
“The fact that we did that, and by just a few points, shows me that a) we made the right decisions and b) the team worked really well together to get to where we are now.”
“We can’t ignore the fact that AlphaTauri led the race with the strategy they chose and were fast. So it’s a proud moment for me to be ahead of them (in the constructors’ championship),” said Vowles.