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Formula 1

Team boss and technical director both leave Williams F1 team

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Williams Formula 1 CEO and team principal Jost Capito, and technical director FX Demaison, are leaving the team.

Capito joined as the first team boss appointed by new owner Dorilton Capital after it purchased Williams during the 2020 season and the team’s founding family departed.

After Williams spent years in a gradual decline and mounting financial concerns, the Dorilton era heralded fresh investment and an opportunity to rebuild one of F1’s most famous teams.

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Capito was tasked with leading the turnaround and recruited former colleagues from his days leading Volkswagen’s dominant World Rally Championship team to assist him in that.

This included Demaison joining as technical director, despite having no F1 experience, and Sven Smeets arriving as sporting director, both during 2021.

That year was a clear step forward on-track for Williams but the 2022 season, the first with new technical regulations, was a huge disappointment.

Having jumped to eighth in the constructors’ championship last year, Williams fell to last again this year with just eight points.

Capito said he was able to “lay the foundations for the turnaround of this great team” but his exit – and Demaison’s after only two years – raises serious questions about whether Dorilton has decided a significant change of strategy and leadership is required.

Capito signed Alex Albon from Red Bull, initially on loan for 2022 and then on a permanent multi-year deal, and picked rookie Logan Sargeant for a 2023 race seat, having only brought the American into the Williams Academy a year ago.

The Williams young driver programme was developed in Capito’s time with the team and he was also responsible for pivoting Williams towards quite an aggressive marketing strategy with a huge off-track focus.

At the team’s Grove headquarters, Capito would have been responsible as CEO for identifying how to use Dorilton’s investment to improve a facility that had fallen behind the times in F1.

This was always going to be a long-term project but in the short-term, a terrible season means Williams has now finished last in the championship in four of the past five years, which represents a poor immediate return on Dorilton’s initial and extensive investment.

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In a slightly unclear announcement on Monday, Williams said that “ahead of the 2023 season” Capito is “stepping aside” and Demaison will “leave his post”.

Dorilton chairman Matthew Savage has said Capito “postponed his planned retirement” to take the Williams job and will “pass the reins on for the next part of this staged process” – leaving it open to interpretation if this is a planned departure, or if Capito and Demaison have been axed.

Williams says a new team principal and technical director will be “announced in due course”.

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“We would like to thank Jost for his hard work and dedication as we embarked on a major transformation process to begin the journey of reviving Williams Racing,” said Savage.

“We’re grateful that Jost postponed his planned retirement to take on this challenge and now he will pass the reins on for the next part of this staged process.

“We would also like to thank FX for his contribution and wish him all the best for his future as he moves on.”

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