Allison set for Mercedes, so what next for Lowe?

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Paddy Lowe’s de­par­ture hints at dis­cord be­hind the scenes, but Mercedes have a plan to re­place him within the com­ing months

Paddy Lowe, the tech­ni­cal au­thor of Mercedes’ three con­sec­u­tive ti­tle dou­bles, be­came the most sought-af­ter prop­erty on the For­mula 1 job mar­ket, as F1 Rac­ing closed for press.

Lowe’s shock exit from Mercedes placed him at the cen­tre of a tech merry-go-round, fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Pat Sy­monds as Wil­liams’ chief tech­ni­cal ofcer and the widely ex­pected re­turn to F1 of ex-Fer­rari tech­ni­cal boss James Allison.

Lowe, 54, had been strongly tipped to join Wil­liams as a re­place­ment for Sy­monds, but F1 Rac­ing un­der­stands no agree­ment has yet been reached. Wil­liams have courted Lowe for months to take up a role more senior than Sy­monds’. At Mercedes, Lowe was de facto joint team boss along­side Toto Wolff – a sit­u­a­tion that may have been in­stru­men­tal in his de­par­ture.

Sy­monds, mean­while, had been seek­ing a new three-year deal af­ter his con­tract nished at the end of 2016. He had been of­fered a sin­gle-sea­son con­tract, which he ini­tially re­fused but then went on to ac­cept, only to nd him­self un­der­mined by the de­ci­sion to sell Bot­tas to Mercedes and tar­get Lowe. Sy­monds only be­came aware of Wil­liams’ move for Lowe when news of a pu­ta­tive deal broke in the me­dia. He left the team on the Tues­day be­fore Christ­mas.

Wil­liams’ in­ter­est in Lowe is not linked with the deal that will take Valt­teri Bot­tas to Mercedes in 2017, but the rea­sons be­hind Lowe’s de­par­ture are un­clear. It is un­der­stood his con­tract was mov­ing from a four-year lock-in to a stan­dard staff con­tract with a no­tice pe­riod, but it seems the size of his earn­ings – he took home in the re­gion of £3m in 2015 and 2016 once bonuses were in­cluded – was be­com­ing a prob­lem. In­sid­ers have also hinted that be­hind the scenes he had started to act be­yond his re­mit.

Mercedes have lined up for­mer Fer­rari tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor James Allison as Lowe’s re­place­ment. Allison, 48, will join the team in the late spring/early sum­mer, as soon as his gar­den­ing leave from the Scud­e­ria is over.

His pre­cise job ti­tle is not known, but he is likely to have less con­trac­tual se­nior­ity than Lowe’s po­si­tion of ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (tech­ni­cal).

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