It’s been months in the coming but Williams Racing and their former CTO Paddy Lowe have finally officially gone their separate ways after Lowe being in absentia since the 5th of March following Williams’ disappointing start to the 2019 F1 season.
Lowe not only leaves his position as Chief Technical Officer, but also steps down from the Williams board of directors ‘with immediate effect’.
“After a period of careful reflection I have reached the decision that I will not return to work at Williams” Paddy said yesterday.
“I wish all my previous colleagues the very best to meet the challenges ahead, which I am sure they will do. I would especially like to thank the Williams fans who are so supportive”.
Williams’ deputy team principal Claire Williams commented “We understand and respect the decision Paddy has reached and wish him well for the future”.
It’s a disappointing end to a relationship that promised so much prior to Lowe’s arrival from World Champions Mercedes in 2017.
However, under Lowe’s stewardship, Williams’ 2018 car – the FW41 – was the team’s most poorly performing car ever, and whilst many people hoped that abandoning development an un-developable car mid-season would allow the team to focus their attention on the following year’s car, allowing the team to move steadily forwards, it turned out that the 2019 car, the FW42, was even further off the pace.
Something had to give.
We don’t fully know where the responsibility for two dud cars in succession lies – was it Paddy’s fault? Or is there something fundamentally amiss with Williams at present that he couldn’t remedy despite his best efforts?
Another unknown is whether Lowe jumped or whether he was pushed. Or perhaps it really was a mutual parting of the ways.
Whatever the reality, Lowe’s departure give him the opportunity to start again elsewhere, whether within or outside Formula 1.
It also allows Williams to move forward with their journey towards being competitive.
At present it seems like it’s going to be a long haul, and one that isn’t possible to achieve until the big Formula 1 ‘reset’ in 2021.