With investment and commitment in place from owners Dorilton, incoming team boss Vowles has been backed to make sweeping changes in a bid to restore the winner of seven drivers’ and nine constructors’ titles to its former glory.
“There are all sorts of things that James has sort of unlocked,” Robson told Autosport. “I think that probably one of the biggest things is for the first time in a long time we’re not just focused on today and tomorrow, so you can afford to have a much more long-term or medium-term view on things.
“That’s completely different to how it’s been probably since 2014-2015. It’s not hand-to-mouth anymore, so that changes an awful lot.”
Robson says Vowles’ strong mandate by its owners has led to much swifter decision-making and the implementation of a healthier company culture.
Photo by: Williams
James Vowles, Williams Racing Team Principal
“That whole sort of philosophy about how we do the R&D, what the real goals are, becomes quite different,” Robson explained. “On top of that, he’s been able to come in and see exactly where the weaknesses are.
“Having that sort of experience and authority come in means that there’s not that much discussion, the investment needs to be made, the investors are prepared to make that investment. And now we’ve got a clear sense of confidence as to where we should be.
“Whereas before, even if the money was available, we had to do all the work to understand why it was the right place to invest in. So that makes a big difference.
“His whole way of leading is quite different. I think it’s probably taken a bit of time for everyone to come to terms with it, but now everyone understands how it works. It’s really quite refreshing.
“It is genuinely about being open and honest, and everyone understanding that mistakes are fine as long as we learn from them, which again is different to how it sometimes was. There’s not like a list of five things that severely have made an impact. It’s just the whole way he operates the team is different and better.”
“As we got into the development of next year’s car, the FW46, we can see that new attitude kind of rippling its way throughout the company,” he added.
“At the track, we see way more James on a day-to-day basis than the factory does. We probably adapted to it reasonably quickly, but I think now over the last few months you can really see it has taken effect everywhere.
“It’s still probably another year or two from fully materialising into performance, but you can really feel the sense of change now.”