March 7th 2019
Williams F1 Chief Technical Director Paddy Lowe Takes Leave Of Absence
Following a dismal start to preseason testing, the Williams F1 team announced that its Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe has left the team, "taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons."
The Williams F1 team failed to failed to have their car ready for the start of the Barcelona tests. When it did run after missing two and a half of eight days of running, it had the slowest times of all.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said at the time that she was was "not just disappointed" by the delay. "It's embarrassing not bringing a race car to a circuit when everyone else has managed to do that, particularly a team like ours that has managed to bring a race car to testing for the past 40-odd years," she said.
Williams headed into 2019 hoping to make a step forward after the worst season in their history saw them finish last in the championship last year.
The result was tension between the team and Lowe during testing, and questions about his tenure.
Lowe said that he was not concerned about his future and said the car was "a huge step forward" in terms of its responsiveness to changes and behavior on track.
But less than a week later, Lowe has left the team, not explaining his reasons.
The team was not able to say when he might return and the expectation is that he will not.
Lowe moved to Williams in 2017 after three years leading the technical side of Mercedes as they won consecutive titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
He was previously technical director of McLaren, where he oversaw Lewis Hamilton's first world title in 2008, leaving after a 2012 season in which the team won seven races.