Paddy Lowe leaves Mercedes ahead of Williams switch
Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe has left the Formula 1 title-winning team, sources have revealed, ahead of an imminent switch to Williams.
Although Lowe had played an instrumental part in helping Mercedes secure three consecutive double world championships, his future had come in to doubt at the end of his contracted term.
Negotiations with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff were delayed until after the 2016 campaign finished, but in the end Lowe could not be won over by what was on offer to remain.
Paddy Lowe, engineer, technical director of Mercedes Formula One, pours champagne on Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain as they celebrate after Hamilton won the U.S. F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas OctoberReuters
It is understood that he informed Mercedes of his decision after returning from Christmas holidays.
Mercedes wished Lowe well in a statement, before adding that he had started a period of gardening leave.
The Lowe situation is intriguing because it comes at a time when Mercedes is in discussions with Williams about trying to reach agreement for Valtteri Bottas to move teams.
Second placed Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, Mercedes Formula One Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe, winner Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain and third placed Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas ()Reuters
Lowe is expected to take a senior management position at Williams, having long been eager to step up from a pure technical role to actually running a team.
Chief technical officer Pat Symonds left Williams at the end of 2016.
Mercedes is expected to appoint former Ferrari technical director James Allison to replace Lowe, once his period of gardening leave is over.