Mercedes executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe has left the Formula One team he helped steer to three world championship doubles, which suggests his return to Williams is all but confirmed.
The Briton has been tipped for a return to Grove, where he started his F1 career in the late 1980s, for several weeks. Renowned F1 journalist Jonathan Noble now reports that Lowe notified Mercedes of his intentions after the Christmas break.
It recently emerged that the 54-year-old’s situation was having an impact on the negotiations currently underway between Mercedes and Williams regarding Valtteri Bottas and his move to the German manufacturer’s works outfit.
Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt wrote that Lowe is under contract with Mercedes until May but Williams has been keen to secure his services immediately.
Lowe’s future position at Grove remains unclear, though the former McLaren man would reportedly take up the role of team principal while also serving as technical director until Toro Rosso’s James Key is free to join Williams.
Noble adds that Mercedes is expected to appoint former Ferrari tech chief James Allison, who left the Scuderia last summer, to replace Lowe at Brackley.
Mercedes has declined to comment on the reports so far.