Lowe leaves Mercedes for 'new challenge'

Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:30pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe is departing the Formula One world champions and has started on a period of 'gardening leave' before a likely move to rivals Williams.

The British-based Mercedes team made the long-awaited announcement in a statement on Tuesday, wishing him well but without revealing any future plans.

Lowe's move to Mercedes-powered Williams is likely to be the first of several that will ultimately see Williams's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas traveling in the other direction to replace retired world champion Nico Rosberg.

The Briton, who has helped Mercedes win three successive constructors' and drivers' titles, started his F1 career at former champions Williams in 1987 and spent six years there before moving to McLaren.

The 54-year-old joined Mercedes in 2013, six months after the arrival of Britain's triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, as part of the senior management team.

Rosberg retired unexpectedly last December five days after winning his first title.

"I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes working with an incredible team of people," Lowe said in a Mercedes statement.

"I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes."   Continued...

Formula One - Grand Prix of Europe - Baku, Azerbaijan - 17/6/16 - Mercedes AMG Formula One technical chief Paddy Lowe looks on during the first practice session.REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov