The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team today confirmed, that Paddy Lowe has left his role as Executive Director (Technical) after three and a half years with the squad, and is believed to be on his way to Williams Martini Racing to replace the outgoing Pat Symonds.
Lowe’s contract with the Brackley based squad completed at the end of the 2016 season, and despite negotiations with Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff taking place, the German squad were unable to keep the highly rated and revered engineer on their books.
Wolff thanked Lowe for his part in making the Mercedes F1 brand so dominant, whilst confirming that their current Technical department will take over the reins in the interim, led by senior directors Aldo Costa (Engineering Director), Mark Ellis (Performance Director), Rob Thomas (Chief Operating Officer) and Geoff Willis (Technology Director).
“Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution to this significant chapter in Mercedes’ motorsport history.
“Success in Formula One is not about single individuals but about the strength in depth and technical capability of an organisation.
“We have the talent in place to continue our success of recent years and we plan to build upon it in 2017 and beyond.”
Lowe has played a key part in Mercedes three world titles, but has been lured away by the challenge of making Williams a force in F1 again, and is believed to have confirmed his decision to the German squad after returning to the factory following the Christmas break.
The Brit commented on how he is relishing the prospect of a new challenge, his words hinting that he already has something else in the pipeline.
“I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes working with an incredible team of people.
“I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes.”
Mercedes are in somewhat of a turmoil at present, losing one of their drivers at short notice, following the retirement of Nico Rosberg just days after he was crowned 2016 world champion, and they have now lost the experience of Lowe in the very same time period.
The move could however pave the way for a new deal to be struck with Williams over the release of driver Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes as a replacement for Rosberg, by using Lowe as a bargaining chip and allowing him to switch teams without requiring a period of gardening leave.
Former Scuderia Ferrari Technical Director James Allison is said to be the main target for Mercedes, who could join the Brackley based squad as soon as his gardening leave is fulfilled early in 2017, unless terms can be agreed with the Maranello based squad to release him sooner.