James Vowles hopes that signing Pat Fry will be a push towards a “culture of change” at Williams

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The Belgian Grand Prix saw many of Alpine’s top management figures leave the team. Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane were fired, and their Technical Director Pat Fry moved to Willians as their Chief Technical Officer.

Fry, who is set to join the Grove-based team at the end of the year, was signed months ahead of the significant changes that Alpine is seeing.

James Vowles

Photo credit: Williams F1

James Vowles, Williams’ Team Principal, insisted that the new addition of Fry to the team is another step forward for the team’s aspirations to climb up the standings ladder; he affirmed that having a seasoned engineer beside him will be a significant push for change and for other highly-qualified personnel to make the jump and join the team.

When asked by Motorsport.com about the announcement, he said: “In part. But I hope that for a start, when people saw that I left the comfort of Mercedes to go to Williams and now people have seen Pat, at a time where Alpine was in a strong place, people will now understand that Williams wants a culture of change.

“So, it’s not specifically that. It’s more that once you see two very senior people that have been in the sport for 20 plus years and winning races and we want to come here, others will now see why it’s worth that journey.”

He added: “That’s why I wanted it to be clear this wasn’t in the last few weeks. This was a long time ago, wanting to join Williams.”

He also revealed that the conversation started as early as January, saying: “The first times I spoke to Pat was actually back in January before I’d officially started with Williams,”

“Just to make it clear, he was the one I’d highlighted that I really wanted to be within Williams.”

James Vowles

Photo credit: Williams Racing

Pat Fry’s signing was due to the team’s need for an overhaul of their technical structure, with Vowles wanting to focus more on the strategic side of the sport, adding: “He’s exceptional at coming into organisations when you need someone to pull their sleeves up and properly get stuck into structure and systems.

“There’s different types of CTOs available to you. There are ones that are very good at finding your last 10 milliseconds. There are ones that are very good at putting structures and systems in place, and he’s more the latter.

“He understandably had a journey with Alpine that he wanted to continue. But actually, by April, he could see the vision as to why I had joined Williams and was very much in line and on board with that.”

Williams’ next hurdle to overcome is recruiting a Technical Director to aid Fry, but despite the fact that Vowles has identified “several” suitable candidates for the position, he claimed: “There’s nothing to talk about at the moment.”