Wolff and new Williams boss Vowles share same view on ‘mini-Mercedes’

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New Williams team principal James Vowles and his former boss Toto Wolff seem well aligned amid claims his team are turning into a ‘mini-Mercedes’. Vowles recently joined Williams to become their team principal ahead of their upcoming 2023 season.

Vowles joined the Oxfordshire-based team after leaving behind Mercedes, where he acted as the Silver Arrows’ chief strategist for 10 years. Vowles of course worked very closely with Wolff, and holds a strong connection with the Silver Arrows boss.

Amid his recent move, there have been claims that the bond between the teams is going to strengthen. As a result, both Mercedes and Williams already hold a good connection, with the latter having used the former’s power unit for some time, as well as recently strengthening their technical partnership.

And the partnership is set to continue, with the Williams man claiming his team will be ‘collaborating’ with Mercedes during his tenure. Despite the links, Vowles is however keen to keep Williams’ independence within Formula 1, rubbishing claims of his team becoming a ‘mini-Mercedes’.

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Per Planet F1, he said: “I wouldn’t consider it a mini-Mercedes. Williams is an incredibly independent team in its own right, which has formed its own history, its own heritage. Williams is an entirely independent organisation.

“Furthermore, it’s one that my success is subject and dependent on me doing a good job there, and that has to be independent of Mercedes. It doesn’t mean that Mercedes and ourselves won’t have collaboration in some form or another.

“There was collaboration before I joined, but I have to do what is best for Williams from here onwards…There’s no mini-Mercedes or B-team, or any of that notion. This is about me standing on my own two legs and making a success with an organisation around me.”

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And it seems his former colleague Wolff is also in agreement. Discussing Williams’ freedom, the Mercedes man commented: “If I were ever to get involved with James and asked him to become mini-Mercedes, he would tell me to get lost. There was always the speculation that Williams, because of the Mercedes engine, was a subordinate but none of that was obviously true and we never interfered into some kind of driver situation.

“We always understood the authority of the team management in their own way and that’s why James is going to do what’s good for the team. He’s going to do what’s going to be good for James in order to bring that forward. He’s going to be judged on the team’s success and if Mercedes is helpful he will talk about it, and if he feels he needs a different position, then he will stand for that position.”

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