With its factory lagging behind that of rivals, Williams has been the main voice in a push to allow teams extra CapEx [capital expenditure] headroom in order to bring their facilities up to the standard of pacesetters Red Bull and Mercedes.
However, others including Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri are also keen to have an extra opportunity to invest to a greater or lesser extent.
During Friday’s F1 Commission meeting in Spa, the topic of discussion included two different levels of additional spending allowances for all teams. Additionally, an alternative proposal was put forth, suggesting that team projects such as a new simulator or gearbox dyno be evaluated individually.
After multiple rounds of voting, no decision was made, and instead the issue was passed on to the financial advisory committee for further deliberation. The deadline for voting was also extended until the end of October.
Vowles stated, “If I go back to February 20, just a few days after I began working here, that was when I first mentioned that Williams requires assistance.”
Our factory’s facilities prevent us from being competitive in the forefront. This is still true and has not been altered.
“And after approximately five months, it is regrettable and disheartening, to be honest, that we find ourselves once again in a situation where, in my opinion, that meeting seemed to be unproductive and repetitive.”
“And to some degree, it will suffice, as all individuals in that space desire to ensure they are not at a disadvantage compared to others. However, there was no feasible method of accomplishing this.”
“There’s no way of just letting Williams gain facilities, especially in a circumstance where we’re currently sitting seventh in the championship.
“You know that other teams will be hurt by the fact that we could put millions in and some are in different positions. Some don’t have the money to spend, some don’t want to spend the money, and some are fearful of change. Aligning that in one room in the space of two hours simply is not possible.”
Alex Albon, Williams FW45
Photo by: Williams
Vowles observed that the current leading teams are resistant to change, but he encouraged them to consider the broader perspective.
During each vote, the outcome was not unexpected, especially when discussing the teams that needed to improve. It is worth noting that this arrangement on opposite sides of the table, with the teams at the back end of the grid on one side and the teams at the front end on the other, is purely coincidental and not intentionally planned.
The fact that the majority of votes came from the back of the grid is not unexpected. Conversely, those at the front did not participate as much, with a few exceptions.
“I cannot reword”
The current state of dominance in the sport is not sustainable and needs to change. It is important for everyone to have equal resources and opportunities to improve and progress. Unfortunately, that is not the situation at present.
Vowles stated that the option of handling each case individually did not receive significant support during the meeting, in contrast to a general increase in spending.
He stated that the increase in blanket had the highest level of support, which is not surprising since it benefits all teams in the grid.
“I cannot reword”
Individually, as one would expect, the hands began to lower. I personally experienced discomfort in my hand due to the prolonged time it was raised, and it significantly dropped as we progressed through each case.
He mentioned that it is difficult to predict the changes that will occur in the next two months, which is when we plan to convene and discuss these matters further.
“Because everyone’s fears of where they lie in the championship and how it affects them short term and how powerful Williams could become as a result of it will still be there.
“What I’m hoping out of all of it is it’s undoubtedly agreed in that room that Williams, amongst all the peers, is the one with the least amount of facilities and that needs rectifying. And we’ll have another go at fixing that and seeing if we get other people’s mindsets to modify.”