Tech chief Paddy Lowe takes ‘leave’ from Williams F1 team

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe is taking “a leave of absence” from the Formula 1 team, Motorsport.com has learned.

Tech chief Paddy Lowe takes ‘leave’ from Williams F1 team

Lowe's future at Williams was under scrutiny following the production delays that meant it missed the first two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing at Barcelona, and the performance of the new car when it did emerge.

He said in Spain that he had not considered his position once those problems had become known, and claimed that pinning the blame on one individual or making hasty personnel changes would be unwise. However, one week before the F1 season will begin in Australia, it has emerged that Lowe has stepped away from his role.

A team spokesperson confirmed to Motorsport.com that Lowe “is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons”.

The team has not indicated what this means for Lowe's long-term future. As well as his responsibilities as technical chief, Lowe acquired a shareholding in Williams when he joined.

The pre-season setback added to the pressure Lowe was already facing following Williams's dismal 2018 season. Last year's car was the first to be designed and built under Lowe's leadership, following his high-profile and expensive move to Williams from Mercedes in early 2017.

It had fundamental aerodynamic problems that led to the team finishing last in the constructors' championship – the worst result in Williams's history.

The team conducted a major review into its processes over the 2018 season to ensure its 2019 car did not suffer from the same problems.

That increased expectations for the FW42 but also raised the significance of the car in terms of the competence of Williams's new senior structure.

The failure to coordinate the build process added further strain, and when it did hit the track the team was rooted to the bottom of the times. Lowe argued that the car was already showing signs of having much better characteristics than its predecessor. 

However, rookie driver George Russell said the team was definitely slowest, while championship returnee Robert Kubica complained that the saga had left him knowing only “20%” of what he needs for his big F1 comeback in Melbourne.

shares
comments
Albon had no "nasty surprises" from Toro Rosso

Previous article

Albon had no "nasty surprises" from Toro Rosso

Next article

Hamilton: Mercedes mustn't go "over edge" chasing Ferrari

Hamilton: Mercedes mustn't go "over edge" chasing Ferrari
Load comments
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021