By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe is on the verge of a shock move to Williams Martini Racing for 2017.
Negotiations between Lowe and Williams have been rumored for some time, but a deal has not yet been announced.
Lowe would replace Williams current technical director Pat Symonds who is ready for retirement after a career of much success and scandal, most notably crashgate in 2008, which crucially hurt recently retired Williams driver Felipe Massa’s championship bid that year.
If Lowe goes he will be the second leading figure of the Mercedes empire to depart in weeks, after world champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement caught the entire racing world by surprise.
It appears the house that Toto and Niki built is showing serious cracks in its foundation. While Mercedes still remain favorites for 2017, losing Rosberg and Lowe seriously hurt their chances at retaining the kind of dominance they have enjoyed the past three seasons.
Further muddying the waters is the fact that Mercedes best hope to replace Rosberg is Williams Valtteri Bottas, who despite being managed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, will likely be hard and expensive to dislodge from his current seat.
Mercedes is believed to already be in contact with former Ferrari technical director James Allison as a replacement, should Lowe leave.
We don’t know who will yet partner Lewis Hamilton to drive for Mercedes next season, and now the identity of who will partner Toto Wolff to lead the team has been thrown into doubt as well. Silly season indeed.