Thursday, January 27, 2022

Formula 1 News: Williams signs former VW Motorsport Head as its Sporting Director

Formula 1 News: Williams signs ex-Head of Motorsport of Volkswagen as its Sporting Director as Porsche inches ever so close to an F1 entry


Formula 1 news: Technically, the deal was signed last month, but we, the media, got to know about it just recently. Anyhoo, Williams has brought Sven Smeets to the team as its new Sporting Director.

The former Head of Motorsport at Volkswagen served as VW’s Team Manager for its WRC operations. He worked directly under Jost Capito, the current CEO and Team Principal of the Williams F1 Team.

Smeets was the key member in bringing three consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles in the WRC before he decided to run the Motorsport program for four years.

Sven had attended his first race with the team in Qatar. He is also not the only one in the Williams’ senior management to come from the VW Motorsport stable – we also have Jost Capito and Technical Director FX Demaison in the team.

Formula 1 news: What will he do?

Good question. From what the team says, Smeets will be “responsible for the sporting governance and representation of the team in all sporting matters related to the FIA, other teams, and motorsport associations.”

Furthermore, “He plays a key role in supporting the team’s drivers, including being responsible for the Williams Racing Driver Academy, as well as having overall accountability for the race team.”

The team also says that “Working alongside Jost Capito, FX Demaison, and the Williams Racing Management Team, Sven ensures that the optimal culture, resources, and environment are in place for the team to succeed.”

Earlier this year, Capito had mentioned why the team was so keen to rope in talent from the VW Group. “We want to build a team that is a sustainable team for the long-term. That is creating a proper team, based around the talent we have inside.”

Team Principal Jost Capito has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will be missing the Saudi Arabia round for sure. He could even miss the final race in Abu Dhabi if the rules don’t allow him to enter the track.

Williams Racing can confirm that CEO and team principal Jost Capito has tested positive for COVID-19 before traveling to Jeddah for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Jost is now following UK national health authority guidelines. There has been no wider impact on Williams Racing personnel and the team will continue to operate trackside as planned.”

The other piece of information comes from Ross Brawn, who says that Audi & Porsche are interested in entering F1 only because the sport is pushing for sustainable fuel – something that will benefit everybody.

Sustainability is the next phase of Formula 1. That’s actually why we’re seeing manufacturers take a much stronger interest in the sport. They can see the value of that involvement. It’s no secret that Volkswagen with Porsche and Audi are having a very close look at Formula 1.”


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