Paddy Lowe, the ar­chi­tect of Wil­liams ac­tive sus­pen­sion in the 1990s, will return as a share­holder and tech­ni­cal boss

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Paddy Lowe is re­turn­ing to Wil­liams, the team where his For­mula 1 ca­reer be­gan in the late 1980s, af­ter he was forced out of his role as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (tech­ni­cal) at Mercedes.

Lowe, 54, had been placed on gar­den­ing leave as F1 Rac­ing went to press, but it was un­der­stood that he will re­port for work at Grove on 1 March 2017. It was one of the stip­u­la­tions of Wil­liams’ agree­ment to re­lease Valt­teri Bottas to Mercedes (see p20) that Lowe be re­leased to work for them im­me­di­ately if they could agree a deal with him. Talks be­tween Lowe and Wil­liams had been drag­ging on, how­ever, as the two sides strug­gled to reach an agree­ment on terms.

In­sid­ers have claimed that Lowe will be­come a share­holder as part of a con­tract in which he will take over­all tech­ni­cal con­trol of the com­pany – the Ad­vanced Engi­neer­ing busi­ness – as well as the F1 team. He will also be­come a nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and board mem­ber.

The ex­act mech­a­nisms for that to take place, his spe­cific job ti­tle and the fi­nan­cial pack­age he re­quires, have been tak­ing some time to sort out. Sources say Lowe had been ask­ing for a re­mu­ner­a­tion that matches the £3m an­nual earn­ings he achieved at Mercedes, which in­cluded suc­cess bonuses.

It seems that Lowe will take over at least some of the nine per cent share­hold­ing of Wil­liams co-founder Sir Pa­trick Head, per­haps aided by a loan from Cana­dian busi­ness­man Lawrence Stroll, who has sourced ma­jor spon­sor­ship fund­ing for the team as part of his son Lance’s new con­tract as one of their 2017 driv­ers.

The cir­cum­stances be­hind Lowe’s de­par­ture from Mercedes are shrouded in mys­tery, but it seems that it was not his de­ci­sion to leave. Lowe and team boss Toto Wolff are un­der­stood to have fallen out, with the sug­ges­tion be­ing that Wolff had be­come un­happy about Lowe’s earn­ings and level of se­nior­ity.

Lowe will be re­placed at Mercedes by former Ferrari tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor James Al­li­son, al­though that move has yet to be of­fi­cially con­firmed. Al­li­son, 48, is on gar­den­ing leave fol­low­ing his split from Ferrari last July, and is ex­pected to start work at Mercedes this sum­mer.

Paddy Lowe is leav­ing Mercedes and is ex­pected to start work­ing for Wil­liams on 1 March 2017

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