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Williams F1 success is still a five-year project, says Vowles

New Williams Formula 1 boss James Vowles has explained why five years will be required to instil the culture and build the infrastructure necessary to make the team successful.

James Vowles, Team Principal of Williams Racing

Former Mercedes head of strategy Vowles took control of the Grove outfit in February as the replacement for ex-Volkswagen motorsport boss Jost Capito, who left after two years.

He is trying to gather voting support for future F1 Commission meetings to allow Williams more capacity within the capital expenditure spending limitations to upgrade its factory.

But Vowles has warned that even if the new construction projects were to begin immediately, it would take at least three years for the team to feel the benefit on track.

Asked by Motorsport.com to outline the realistic timeframe for an F1 team to recover up the competitive order, Vowles said: "Right now, for a lot of facilities that are missing, even if I had a spade and I broke ground tomorrow, it'll be 36 months before most of the big infrastructure is in place.

"That's different to a lot of other teams that already have that. And that's not an abnormal period of time. The really quick stuff would be 24 months.

"That's just getting the infrastructure in place. That's not changing behaviours, cultures, systems, integrating proper [Enterprise Resource Planning] into our entire world.

"That's just buildings and infrastructure that's not there.

"The bare minimum you're looking at is: get the infrastructure in place, plus a period of time of learning with it and trying to catch up to rivals that have been using it for 15 years.

"When we talk about five years, there's good reason behind it. It depends on where you are, what journey you have to do in front of you, what infrastructure you have to put in place."

Logan Sargeant, Williams W45

Logan Sargeant, Williams W45

Photo by: Erik Junius

It has been speculated that Williams has suffered from a culture problem in recent years, whereas Vowles' previous employer Mercedes adheres to a 'no-blame philosophy'.

As such, Vowles is expected to apply a similar ethos to Williams. Although he expects this process to add to the recovery timelines.

Vowles continued: "Culture, which I'm really strong on, doesn't appear overnight.

"In my experience, for about 800 people, it's three years to change a culture within an organisation.

"That's a made-up number by me. But I've been through this enough times in the sport to see it.

"[Infrastructure and culture] will start delivering, I think, good amounts of performance in three years.

"That's not championship-winning because, at the moment, we don't have the money to spend up to the championship winners.

"It's available but the cost cap is hindering us. We are certainly behind them on the leading edge.

"I think what we also need is the sport to also realise that, on any given Sunday, anyone should have the ability to win.

"We started to migrate towards it… But I think five years is not a bad period of time to be talking about."

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