By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Mercedes released a statement today confirming the widely held belief that their technical chief Paddy Lowe is leaving the team he helped steer to three consecutive championships.
As we first reported one month ago, Lowe is bound for Williams, but contractual and financial negotiations have been complicated by Valtteri Bottas’ talks with Mercedes over Nico Rosberg’s vacated seat, and Felipe Massa’s potential return to the Grove based squad.
Such news formally coming to light indicates that some manner of solution has been found at the crowded negotiation table between Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda, Claire Williams and Bottas’ management team.
Mercedes released the following statement today.
“Following three and a half very successful years, Paddy Lowe will be leaving Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. He has now begun a period of garden leave. The company’s Board wishes Paddy well with his future endeavours and thanks him for his significant contribution to the team’s achievements.”
“In the short term, our stable technical organisation will continue to operate under the proven and established leadership of our senior directors Aldo Costa (engineering director), Mark Ellis (performance director), Rob Thomas (chief operating officer) and Geoff Willis (technology director).”
Lowe will be returning home to Williams, where he began his illustrious Formula One career. While it was initially speculated he would replace outgoing technical director Pat Symonds, some rumors now suggest he could take on an even larger role.
It is speculated that Lowe’s aim is to return the house that Frank built to the front of the grid by comprehensively rebuilding the organization similar to what Ross Brawn achieved at Ferrari or Adrian Newey at Red Bull.
Former Ferrari technical director James Allison is set to replace Lowe at Mercedes.
The Lowe announcement is but the first domino to fall in a complex chain reaction that has been building since Rosberg stunned the sport with his retirement announcement. Expect further news within the week confirming Bottas at Mercedes, Massa at Williams, and Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber. With Manor in administration and unlikely to start the season, the 2017 field should soon be set.