Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe will take a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons, just over a week from the start of the new season.
Lowe has been at Williams since early in the 2017 season, but has come under pressure after the team’s 2019 car — the FW42 — was heavily delayed and wasn’t ready to run until the third afternoon of pre-season testing.
With the car also proving to be slow when it did run — and changes being required to ensure its legality at the Australian Grand Prix after clarifications from the FIA — Lowe has now taken time off, with a team spokesperson confirming he “is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons.”
Lowe is a director at Williams, and following the testing delays the former McLaren and Mercedes technical director said it was important the team did not make changes to senior management in order to learn from the issues it has faced.
Williams finished the 2018 season bottom of the constructors’ championship with just seven points, 26 adrift of ninth-placed Toro Rosso. The new season gets underway on March 17 in Australia.