ROKiT Williams Racing‘s technical director Paddy Lowe is set to take a ‘leave of absence’ from the team ahead of the 2019 Formula 1 season for personal reasons.
Pre-season testing for the Grove based team has been tough the late debut of the FW42. The car made its on track debut two and a half days after testing had begun following production delays.
The pace of the FW42 raises concerns of their season with both George Russell and Robert Kubica admitting their team is the slowest of all ten and that they are fully ready for the first race in Melbourne, Australia.
Lowe joined the team early 2017 after a successful spell at Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, playing a critical role in their dominant championship form during the early years of the V6 Hybrid era.
Last year’s Williams was the first designed by Lowe, but their season was challenging with aerodynamic problems on the car, which led to them finishing tenth overall – Williams’ worst in their history in the sport.
Williams reviewed their 2018 car and ensured the failures do not repeat onto their 2019 car, but problems with the construction and its debut of their car has raised more concerns for the team.
A Williams’ spokesperson told Motorsport.com that Lowe ‘is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons’. It is unclear relating to his long-term future at the team or whether someone will fill his position for the time being.
Despite the problems ahead of the 2019 season, Williams’ deputy team principal Claire Williams has stated that the cause of delays were not down to a lack of funding or issues relating to suppliers, but made the case that several issues have been the cause of the outcome.