Williams boss James Vowles says his team’s success in holding on to P7 in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship has more value than just the extra $9 million prize money.

The Grove-based outfit had gone into the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi hoping to head off a late-season surge from closest rival AlphaTauri in the fight for seventh in the teams' battle. 

Although Williams failed to score any points at a track that was not particularly well suited to its car, Yuki Tsunoda's eighth-placed finish was not enough for its Italian rival to overtake it. 

Speaking after the race, Vowles said that, while the prize money uptick was more than welcome, he said there was a bigger significance to the team delivering on its late-season objective. 

"Probably the most important thing is that it sets the foundations for the team, that they have something to build on now," he told Motorsport.com

"You lose out on wind tunnel time and it's not the financial element that we are particularly worried about.  

"But what I wanted them to do was to stand up and go: this is the start of our journey. By the way, we're not going backwards from here. This is a new de facto standard and a spring for us." 

While the estimated $9 million prize bonus for finishing seventh will not be a game-changer for Williams as it needs investment many times that to fight at the front, Vowles says that it has a wider significance for team owner Dorilton Capital. 

"It always helps having money in the bank account," he said. "But I've been very open and public about the fact that we're throwing away, in terms of losses, tens of millions.  

"But we're here to invest, to go back to the front, whatever that costs us in the short term. 

"What it does is it pretty much helps the discussion when I'm going behind the scenes and asking for $100m more, which is the numbers we're sort of talking about. It makes a massive difference for that." 

Yuki Tsunoda leads Logan Sargeant at Brazilian GP 2023

Proud moment 

The Abu Dhabi race had been a nervous one for Williams, as it was well aware that AlphaTauri's growing competitiveness had left it with a good shout of snatching P7 away. 

That was further confirmed when Tsunoda qualified sixth and, gunning for a one-stop strategy, even led the race at one point. 

Vowles insisted that his emotions remained calm throughout the grand prix, despite the result being on a knife-edge. 

"I oddly enough don't really get nervous in races, albeit Netflix were filming me," he said. 

"I'm pretty sure my expressions at some points aren't going to be the best, but the conclusion I came to before the race even started is whatever happened I was proud of what we have achieved up until this point. 

"We must remember that we cut off development before any other team on the grid and then I asked the team to please, by the way, finish seventh. And to do that, to do that by a matter of points tells me a) we made the right decisions and b) that the team has worked really well together to be where we are.  

"We can't ignore the fact that AlphaTauri were leading the race on the strategy they chose, and they were quick. So, to finish ahead of them is a proud moment for me."  

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