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Williams says goodbye to Capito: Why so suddenly?

Williams says goodbye to Capito: Why so suddenly?

12-12-2022 19:06


Jost Capito is no longer the team boss of Williams. The umbrella company, Dorilton Capital, has decided to sideline the 64-year-old German. Whether anything more is in store for Capito is unclear, but possible. In any case, the German already looks back on a great career in racing.

Williams without leaders in restructuring

In addition to Capito, François-Xavies Demaison has also been ejected from Williams. The two leaders are no longer needed at the distinctive Formula 1 team. The two had been appointed in 2020 to help the ailing racing team move forward again. Demaison took on the task of restructuring the technical staff and said at the time that Williams had not evolved at the same pace as Formula 1. The Frenchman saw a long trajectory ahead of him but was not allowed to sit this one out for long.

The same goes for Capito, who was also appointed as part of Williams' major restructuring, but now has to clear the way for someone else anyway. Given his age, by the way, it could just be a normal retirement. After all, Capito has done enough in motorsport.

Capito in motorsport

The German has more than 30 years of experience. Capito started at BMW in 1985, working in engine development for motorsport. That same year, he also won the Paris-Dakar rally. In 1989, Capito joined the Volkswagen Group and joined Porsche's racing department. After ten years working in motorsport, the German joined Sauber in 1996, where he was given a role on the board.

Although Capito was already smelling Formula 1 there, it took 2016 until the team boss was at the helm of the team. For more than 20 years, Capito was in charge at several teams in the WRC. First at Ford and later, in 2012, again at Volkswagen. Volkswagen was unbeatable in the World Rally Championship during these years.

Capito stood out in racing and in 2016 he became the CEO of McLaren. The German wanted to leave his WRC team in good hands and would not leave Volkswagen until a replacement was found for him. The replacement was found and from 1 September 2016, Capito was the boss at McLaren. It was only a short adventure, as it was over by 19 December the same year. His appointment at Williams in 2020 seemed like a comeback. The job to be done on the team required a stable and experienced factor on the board.

Is there another reason for Capito's departure?

It is remarkable for an experienced team boss to be dropped from service in the middle of a restructuring. Especially given the fact that 2021 and 2022 saw steps forward compared to previous seasons. Capito may have been asked for another spot on the grid; as there seems to be a little silly season going on regarding F1 team bosses.

Mattia Binotto is stepping down from Ferrari as of 2023 and his successor has not yet been named. Although many names have been mentioned as a possible replacement for the Italian, Frédéric Vasseur's name kept coming up more often. The Frenchman now seems to be the main contender to take Binotto's spot, and that leaves a gap at Sauber, which trades Alfa Romeo for Audi as a partner from 2026.

That Capito is jumping into the vacuum that Vasseur will leave behind would explain why the news of the German's departure from Williams came so suddenly. After all, the replacement at Ferrari is needed in just under three weeks. With the possible departure of Vasseur, Sauber also needs to act quickly. In this way, the team bosses' silly season will run itself.

As a former Volkswagen chief and former Sauber employee, Capito is the ideal man with experience in Formula 1 to make the Audi-Sauber partnership a success. The only (possible) problem, though, is that Capito will be 68 years old in 2024 and would prefer to be long and wide retired by then.