Is Paddy Lowe leaving Mercedes for Williams F1?

If losing your world champion driver Nico Rosberg wasn’t challenging enough, what about losing your technical director Paddy Lowe? Per reports, Lowe has accepted a job offer to move to Williams F1 for the 2017 season. While Lowe has played down any such speculation, the article I read says that multiple sources have indicated he has accepted the offer.

A couple of thoughts come to mind regarding Lowe’s possible move to Williams F1. First, it would be a big gain for Williams who currently have Pat Symonds and a large bruise from losing 4th in the Constructors’ championship to Force India. Acquiring the services of Lowe, a long-time McLaren and Mercedes technical wonk, would be a boost to the program which relies on Mercedes shove in the back of their car.

The second thought is the U-turn Mercedes made with regards to Lewis Hamilton’s tactics and disregard of team orders in Abu Dhabi. The team now suggest his tactics were terrific and there’s nothing to see with regards to telling the team to stuff it when asked to pick up the pace and not back Rosberg up into traffic in the hopes of dislodging the German from the podium and handing the title to Lewis.

The mea culpa from Mercedes suggested that they are looking for a teammate for Hamilton but that he’s a critical part of the team and it is important that he is in a good place going forward. That’s much easier to do with Rosberg out of the way.

If the team are rounding off all the sharp corners, rolling out the air cushions and making sure there is always hot coffee in the pot for Lewis, perhaps the thought of losing Paddy Lowe also has something to do with keeping Lewis positive about 2017 even though he’s losing his main rival and the team’s main brain. Lewis will have concerns over the structure change just like he did in 2016 when Nico’s mechanics swapped sides of the garage with Lewis’s mechanics.

Thirdly, the coming of Paddy Lowe was part of the reason Mercedes experienced the leaving of Ross Brawn. The team were previously Brawn GP and won the 2009 world title and Ross had started his methodical process of building the next F1 empire at Mercedes with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher at the helm. His vision was manifest but when the team brought Lowe over, Brawn wasn’t too keen on the idea.

Lewis has already said how critical Brawn was to his coming and perhaps team boss Toto Wolff still has Brawn’s mobile number? If Lowe moves, it will be a bit of a blow to Mercedes and I have to wonder if the former McLaren man was miscast for the play at Brackley.

Lowe has been the one voice in the press less flattering of Hamilton and his antics over the past two seasons. Not hostile or critical but somewhat nonplussed if you read between the lines. Maybe the Mercedes way just isn’t the Lowe way? Mercedes has a deep bench in which to draw from but losing Lowe would sting. For Williams, gaining Lowe would be reason for cheer.

Could we be seeing the first fissures at Mercedes after such dominance performance over the last several years? Rosberg has achieved the highest goal and promptly leaves? Lowe is on top of the F1 world with the team and leaves? What gives?

Lowe’s replacement at Mercedes? The Article suggests that this is where former Lotus and Ferrari brain James Allison is heading.

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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Tom Firth

He was off to Ferrari last month, now he’s off to Williams. Whose next, Renault?

I think he’s going somewhere but it seems more of a guessing game for now as to where.

Paul KieferJr

Could be a case of dis-information being spread.

Either way, this would be a blow to Mercedes if true. It makes 3rd Place more likely next season, though there would still be a chance at 2nd.

Tom Firth

It would make very little difference to next years championship. He wouldn’t be allowed to join Williams for many months and would have no impact on next years car elsewhere even if he is leaving.

Max Johnson

Wrong, his contract with Mercedes is ended at the end of this year.

Tom Firth

Might not have to take mandatory gardening leave. Doesn’t mean won’t, at Mercedes and Williams discretion. Especially given Mercedes supplies their their engines. Probably not best to upset them. So I’d be surprised if isn’t some period before he can join, agreed between the two.

It doesn’t sound like Williams need him to be in a lead position until 2018 anyway when Symonds retires, in the meantime it’s transitional so I can see them allowing some period before he formally starts.

Tom Firth

As for what it means in the greater scheme of things for Mercedes. We all know that when a company, organisation or in this case a team is highly successful, rivals try to poach away the people that they believe are responsible for that success. I think Mercedes has been sheltered somewhat from this because its top management is mostly also equity holders in the team and that creates other complications. Lowe I don’t think is, someone feel free to correct me on that point. Therefore he is the one that could realistically be poached within that inner circle?


I wonder what Williams are able to offer Pat Fry? It certainly wouldn’t be greater financial and physical resources. If anything it would have to be related to the control he has over the team and it’s direction and actions. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if and wherr he does move, and if it is to Williams, how the team structure (and ownership?) changes to accommodate him. A move to Williams in this timeframe will have no impact on the 2017 car, but…..he went to Mercedes just before the 2014 season, and look how well that turned… Read more »

Purple Sector

I had a feeling you would drag Hamilton into this. Anyone thinking that Hamilton pushed Lowe out is off the Mark. Hamilton and Lowe actually have a good relationship. I think what has upset Lowe, despite the success and titles at Mercedes is the lack of respect. He joined Mercedes because he wanted to start something new. I think he wanted to create his legacy at Mercedes…his own Ron Dennis story if you will. When he joined that was probably what he was promised. Perhaps a path to partnership/ownership in the team. That’s the only thing a team like Williams… Read more »

Malunda Wanda

Are we sure Mercedes interpretation of the new formula for 2017 will keep them fastest? Why are these two people in the know willing to leave the fastest car on the grid, do they notice a problem? Didn’t Lowe help design the current Mclaren dog before he abandoned it? Could this be a similar situation?