It has been learnt that Williams Formula 1 chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has taken “a leave of absence”, just over a week until the start of the 2019 World Championship.
The former Mercedes technical director has had his future at the team put under scrutiny after production delays meant the 2019 car missed two and half days of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Lowe said in Spain that he had not considered his position in the team, and also said that pinning the problems on one individual or making personnel changes would be unwise.
A team spokesperson has confirmed that Lowe “is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons.” However, the team did not indicate what this means for Lowe’s long-term future within the team.
Lowe joined the team from Mercedes in early 2017 with last year’s car being the first Williams to be designed and built under Lowe’s leadership.
A dismal season followed with the team struggling with aerodynamic problems. They finished last in the constructor’s championship – the lowest finishing position in the team’s long and illustrious history.
A major re-think was ordered over the winter to make sure this year’s car didn’t suffer the same fate.
However, when the car finally did hit the track in Barcelona – they struggled.
Lowe had said that the 2019 car had much better characteristics than its predecessor.
Despite this, rookie and current Formula 2 champion George Russell said the team was definitely slowest, whilst his teammate Robert Kubica complained that the ordeal had left him knowing only “20%” of what he needs for his big F1 comeback at round one in Melbourne next weekend.
Header image from Motorsport.com
By Jordan Hollands.