James Vowles not surprised by Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move – except for one detail

James Vowles worked with Lewis Hamilton for ten seasons and six F1 drivers' titles at Mercedes before becoming Williams team principal


James Vowles admitted he was surprised by the timing of Lewis Hamilton‘s move to Ferrari, but said he wasn’t shocked that the seven-time world champion couldn’t resist a move to Maranello.

Vowles joined Brackley all the way back in 2001 and was present for all of Hamilton‘s title wins with the Silver Arrows, enjoying a close relationship with the champion before leaving to become Williams team principal for 2023.

But while Hamilton‘s decision stunned most of the Formula 1 world, Vowles said Ferrari‘s pulling power is unmatched.

“Lewis, the timing came as a surprise to me,” Vowles told media including Total-Motorsport.com at Williams’ 2024 car launch. “His want and desire to be in a Ferrari at some point in his career, no.

“I think most world champions have either been there or have a desire to be there because it’s a force of nature and it’s still the most successful team in Formula One and that can’t be ignored.”

Hamilton also realises a dream that his idol Ayrton Senna never achieved. Senna is the most recent multi-time champion apart from Mika Hakkinen to have ended their career without joining the Scuderia, but he’d reportedly been offered a contract to sign for 1995 by Jean Todt shortly before the Brazilian’s death.

Vowles: Hamilton’s move could benefit everyone

James Vowles as Williams launch FW46 for 2024 F1 season | Williams F1 Team

Mercedes are yet to pick the driver that will replace Hamilton, with WilliamsAlex Albon one of the favourites for the seat after Mercedes‘ last two new drivers have also come from Grove – George Russell and Valtteri Bottas.

Fernando Alonso is also in the mix alongside his compatriot Carlos Sainz – who Hamilton ousted from Ferrari – but there’s only a handful of drivers in the world who wouldn’t feel like a step down from statistically the greatest in F1 history.

However, Mercedes have their junior superstar Andrea Kimi Antonelli making his F2 debut in 2024, and Vowles predicted the team could come out stronger in the long run.

“It’s the hardest thing to do, for every human in the world to move from where you’re comfortable to where you’re not, challenges you and pushes you to the limit,” Vowles added. “And that’s Lewis all over. And so the fact he’s doing it, I actually think that it’s good for sport.

“It’ll be good for Lewis. It’s not good for Mercedes short term, but actually I think you’re going see they’ll absolutely fine on where they get to on drivers and they will come back stronger as a result. So ultimately, it’s a good thing all-round in time.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -


Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Lando Norris of McLaren during 2023 Spanish GP practice | Aston Martin F1 Team

F1 Spanish GP 2024: Schedule and Session Start Times

As the 2024 Formula 1 season progresses, the Spanish Grand Prix stands out as a pivotal event, offering a...
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford, celebrates after winning the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway | NASCAR

How two tyres carried Ryan Blaney to NASCAR win at Iowa

Ryan Blaney's June began in heartbreaking fashion when Team Penske opted to gamble on fuel, only for him to...
Max Verstappen leads George Russell of Mercedes during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull vs McLaren vs Mercedes: What next in F1’s development war?

The Canadian Grand Prix served up the best race of the 2024 Formula 1 season so far with a...
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton explains why F1 doesn’t need a transfer window

Lewis Hamilton has weighed in with his thoughts on whether Formula 1 should adopt a football-style transfer window to...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Forget Ferrari, McLaren are the biggest threat to Red Bull

The very fact that Lando Norris was disappointed and frustrated with finishing second at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian...
Sergio Perez looks on at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst...

Should F1 adopt a football-style transfer window for drivers? Max Verstappen is the proof...

Formula 1 is unlike any other sport, and that's fine - the F1 purists thrive on its unique qualities....

What went wrong for Will Brown, Cam Waters in NASCAR Cup debuts

The NASCAR Cup Series had some Australian flavour Sunday when Supercars Championship stars Will Brown and Cameron Waters made...

What we learned from the 2024 Canadian GP

Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium after a terrible 2024 Monaco Grand Prix with an...
Norman Nato leads the field at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024-25 calendar announced for first Gen3 Evo season

Formula E have announced its provisional calendar for the 2024-25 season, which will be the first campaign for the...
- Advertisment -