In a world that mostly revolves around Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, Jost Capito doesn’t often make the headlines. Except during the previous Italian Grand Prix.
The leader of the Williams racing team had to improvise on qualifying day, when his driver Alex Albon had to go under the knife.
Capito (63) called the Mercedes hotline and got permission to borrow reserve driver Nyck de Vries. A golden handle. De Vries had a faultless run at Monza, finishing ninth and scoring points on his Formula 1 debut.
If Albon isn’t fit enough this weekend in Singapore, Capito will call on the 27-year-old Frisian again.
Despite De Vries’ success, Williams is still the bottom-runner. Under Capito, the team recovers from disastrous seasons and financial difficulties.
New cars will race in Formula 1 this year, based on a sweeping rule change. This would lead to more tension and overtaking maneuvers and less predictable results. Then Max Verstappen eleven of the sixteen GPs. What went wrong?
“Nothing. I see it differently. In sport, the best must win. Even if the athlete or the team in question wins always and everywhere. It’s part of high performance sport. I made it the experience in the World Rally Championship, when I worked at Volkswagen. We dominated for years and were accused of destroying the sport. They wanted to change the rules to put us at a disadvantage. I think that’s silly.”
“The fans also want the best driver to win. Compare that with the Olympics. For many, the 100 meters is the favorite title fight, even if they already know in advance who is going to win. You’re not going to not asking the favorite athlete 110 meters or running in the grass? Punishing the best on the field? End of discussion.
The new rules would also allow all teams to win races. In practice, it’s Red Bull Racing versus Ferrari.
“And yet the measures have an effect. The drivers can follow each other better with the new cars. Overtaking maneuvers are easier. Those impressive Verstappen overtaking races at Spa and Hungary would have been impossible with his old car.”
“I don’t believe that a team like Williams will suddenly win races in the years to come. The podiums are still a long way off. It could take another five or ten years. I expect the budget cap that has been introduced only provide a balance in a few years.”
“It seems like everyone can spend the same amount, but when everything was still allowed, the big teams invested so much money that their lead is huge. To close that gap, we actually have to spend more millions than It’s not it’s possible and it’s allowed No. So it will take some time before there is really a level playing field.
So if De Vries wants to win races, he shouldn’t sign with you?
“Exactly. It’s like a bus, hahaha.”
However, he is pictured replacing Nicholas Latifi, who will leave after this season. Does De Vries’ race in Italy influence your decision?
“No, we are good friends and we will remain so. I know exactly what he has in store for me. Nyck did what I expected at Monza. Don’t underestimate this: the first time in a Formula 1 with a full tank of fuel. The start at the front of the middle of the pack. The frantic pace on the grid. The start procedure. The jostling in the first corners. The search for the ideal braking points. Not losing position. You just have to Continue. “
“It was a special moment, but I knew he could do it. I have a lot of experience driving racing drivers. Then you feel if someone is ready. Or not. You look in the eyes and see the self-confidence. Or not. . “
You said after the race in Italy that De Vries deserved a permanent place in Formula 1. Why not just offer him the cockpit of Latifi?
“It’s not that simple. We are training young drivers and have to see if and when a junior can be promoted. Such a decision is quite complex, but it is not a decision that mainly revolves around money. For us, the talent of a driver is more important than the millions he brings in.”
Williams is owned by US investment firm Dorilton. Is an American driver, like Logan Sargeant, your talent in Formula 2, the logical choice?
“There is indeed a lot to be said for having an American driver in Formula 1. The sport is growing so fast in the United States. It makes sense. This is the missing link: an American who makes a name for himself in F1 But then “A driver like that has to perform well and that has been lacking in the past. There are many examples of this. F1 is a very different game from IndyCars and NASCAR.”
“We are attentive and do our best to ensure that we stick to the imposed maximum. You have to play the game fairly, in the spirit of sport. This means that we cannot afford everything. We can’t just throw every penny down.”
“You have to build a margin. Costly incidents can always happen in the last races. It takes a lot from our finance department, but all the teams have agreed to these rules. Then you have to stick to them.”