Lowe leaves Mercedes, set to join Williams
Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe has left the Formula 1 world champions and has started on a period of "gardening leave" before a likely move to rivals Williams.
The British-based Mercedes team made the long-awaited announcement in a statement yesterday morning (Singapore time), wishing him well but without revealing any future plans.
Lowe's move to Mercedes-powered Williams is likely to be the first of several that will ultimately see Williams's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas travelling in the other direction to replace retired world champion Nico Rosberg.
Briton Lowe, who has helped Mercedes win three successive constructors' and drivers' titles, started his F1 career at former champions Williams in 1987 and spent six years there before moving to McLaren.
The 54-year-old joined Mercedes in 2013, six months after the arrival of Britain's triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, as part of the senior management team.
Rosberg retired unexpectedly last December five days after winning his first title.
"I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes working with an incredible team of people," Lowe said in a Mercedes statement.
"I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes."
Mercedes, who have plenty of engineering expertise on board, are expected to recruit former Lotus and Ferrari technical head James Allison, who left the Italian team last year.
The champions said they would continue planning for the new season under engineering head Aldo Costa, performance director Mark Ellis, chief operating officer Rob Thomas and technology director Geoff Willis.
Media reports have suggested Lowe could become the team principal at Williams, but team sources told Reuters that was not on the cards. - REUTERS