Going Dutch
Spa 2017
Belgian Grand Prix
Insight: Paddy Lowe departure from Mercedes F1 team paves way for Bottas/Massa announcement
News
Paddy Lowe
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jan 2017   |  6:02 pm GMT  |  131 comments

The deal that takes technical boss Paddy Lowe to Williams and which brings Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate is now underway and should be announced soon, after some delays over the New Year period, partly over the length of ‘gardening leave’ period.

A further consequence is the return to the cockpit of Felipe Massa, having announced his retirement in 2016. The Brazilian was in a very strong negotiating position with Mercedes wanting Bottas and Williams needing an experienced driver alongside rookie Lance Stroll for 2017. Massa is expected to race for one more season to give Williams a chance to recruit a long term replacement.

Lowe’s departure from Mercedes, formally announced on Tuesday, has been foreshadowed for many months. His contract was due to expire at the end of 2016 and negotiations were reported to be difficult. In the meantime Williams, with the impetus of the Stroll family, was keen to shake up the technical side of the team and along with the departure of Pat Symonds, there have been a number of other departmental heads who have left the team.

Paddy Lowe

Ironically when Lowe left McLaren in 2013 it was to join Toto Wolff at Williams, where he was a minority shareholder. But then Wolff was appointed Mercedes F1 team boss and head of Mercedes motorsport and he diverted Lowe onto Brackley, rather than Williams factory in Grove. He worked alongside Ross Brawn before the latter stepped away from the team, having put in place much of the groundwork for the dominant 2014 hybrid turbo car.

Lowe carried that work on and the team won 51 Grands Prix out of 59 over three years, missing out on pole position just three times in that period.

So Lowe is arriving at his originally intended destination three and a half years – and six drivers’ and constructors’ world championships – later than expected!

The expectation in F1 circles is that former Ferrari technical director James Allison will come in to the Mercedes team, once his period of gardening leave completed in the summer, but there is no mention of that today.

Toto Wolff

Mercedes’ statement said: “In the short term, our stable technical organisation will continue to operate under the proven and established leadership of our senior directors Aldo Costa (Engineering Director), Mark Ellis (Performance Director), Rob Thomas (Chief Operating Officer) and Geoff Willis (Technology Director).”

“Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution to this significant chapter in Mercedes’ motorsport history, ” said team boss Toto Wolff.

“Success in Formula One is not about single individuals but about the strength in depth and technical capability of an organisation.

“We have the talent in place to continue our success of recent years and we plan to build upon it in 2017 and beyond.”

What do you make of this development How will it affect Williams’ competitiveness?Leave your comment in the section below

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

131 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

More important is how this will affect Mercedes's competitiveness...
I don't like big changes. They were not unexpected, but still unneeded.

2

So you're saying you'd LIKE Mercedes to continue to win 86% of races and securing 95% of pole positions??

3

Tom, I'm a big Lewis fan, and as impressed as I am with Merc's continued technical excellence, even I'm getting a bit bored....

4

I just don't get why would he leave a team like Mercedes...

5
Clarks4WheelDrift

Too many chiefs??

Had enough, been there done it, so more fun fishing than pandering to Toto, Niki and the board above, and of course to Lewis in the car...?

Not enough competition to keep him excited? Fed up with turning the car down and pretending Ferrari are close enough to make a race of it 🙂

6

Maybe it has something to do with Lowe's lack of authority over the drivers, particularly over Lewis in Abu Dhabi, on top of his enormous salary.
Also I doubt he was worth the money he was payed...in the past we didn't see single bit of evidence he was responsible for any success he was part of.
In McLaren he inherited the work Adrian did, the same happen in Mercedes where he carried on with what Ross did.
I'm sure Merc can carry on just as well without him.

7

Um Krako didn't Lowe work for Williams when Mansel won? I think he gets to run a team now.

It probably won't hurt MB because it's more about other things than who is chief. Too many chiefs and no Indians is very bad.

8

Harsh!

9

Maybe harsh....but very possible. 🙂

10

I don't think it was his choice. BBC mention that his pay was high:
"Lowe's £3m income for the past two seasons - including all bonuses - is said to have caused tension at Mercedes" Andrew Benson, BBC Sport.

11

I imagine Merc were not offering such a generous package for his new contract, hence the 'difficult' negotiations

12

Well,after briatore,you better believe anything is possible behind the scene in F1.This is why unusually for me,I subscribe to the conspiracy theories peddled about Lewis being stitched up last season. If brawn those not trust lowe,I don't either. He just appeared to me too invested in Rosberg taking that tittle. Anyone who thinks lowe is a Lewis acolyte is fooling themselves. He was part of the Whitmarsh axis that favored Button over Lewis at McLaren. I like to observe body language and demeanor at key moments when the camera zooms on these F1 operatives. There was a key race I began to buy into the conspiracy theories ; remember the race where Rosberg had a poor banker lap during qually,and put the car in fourth or fifth i think, the camera immediately zooms on paddy lowe,who had his head in his hand as if his whole world had collapsed around him. Why would he have such a reaction when the construtors tittle was untouchable, and when the tittle was a straight shootout between their two drivers .Right there I detected too much vested interest in Rosberg's direction. Rosberg did put the car in p2 on his second run. Lowe going to Williams however cannot be bad for Williams, he certainly has something. And the loss to Mercedes? There could be some,I believe he offered the expertise that finally resolved the Mercedes tyre wear problems.

13

You only have to read Ross Brawn's book to find out. Ross did not trust Wolff and Lauda and he can't be the only one!

14

You do realize that people said that when Adrian Newey left Williams and then again when he left McLaren... right?

15

success overrated? or possibly likes the challenge of bring a mid-tier traditional team back to prominence?

16

"Williams, with the impetus of the Stroll family, ...". How sad that Williams Grand Prix Engineering, who took Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve to world championships, has been reduced to being controlled by the whims of a teenage pay driver and his obsessed father.

17
Clarks4WheelDrift

You forgot a sponsor that must need to sell drinks to older clientel in the Brazil area 😉

18

Perhaps it is more the case that Williams don't have the energy/ resources to do it without a major imput and feel this is preferable to becoming another Brabham or Arrows... Be excited at the prospect of renewal at Grove. Lets be clear things could hardly be much worse than they have been since the early '90's!

19

Alternatively. What a relief that Williams - who haven't really been in the game since Adrian Newey left, seem to be getting more cash and increasing their capability. Sir Frank being very ill during 2016 might mean he only needed a small push to pass the top job on. Lowe is ex-Williams so getting him back as Team Principal....

20

That's the exact sentence that I zeroed in on too. Is this to be taken as a sign that the Stroll family now has a significant amount of influence over the team, or are they just making suggestions that were going to happen anyway? I hope it's the latter. As a Canadian, this isn't really the way I, personally, wanted to see us enter the sport again.

21
If you think thats a big deal you should see my schnitzel

That sentence only refers to the required refreshing of the technical department, and what some billionaires money, and terms for the paid drive, might have meant.

The article seems to overlook the 'deal' that has gone down to secure Bottas to Mercedes. Mercedes may have brokered to fill the gaps at Williams in return for filling a big gap at Mercedes... Let's face it, they would have some excess budget available, because I am sure they would be looking at a increased package for Nico in 2017, as world champion, had he not retired. So, essentially: 'sponsor' Massa back in to the seat at Williams, get Bottas into a Mercedes and fill the technical hole for Williams with Paddy Lowe, who is replaceable in Mercedes team structure, due to depth. I think getting Lowe out of Mercedes probably circumvents the feeling on civil disobedience from Hamilton to Lowe in the last race, which until Nico retired, was causing the question of disciplining Lewis - maybe Lowe was not go of that one?

22
Bjornar Simonsen

Off topic, but Ferrari keeps getting rid of their technical staff when the success is lacking, then others take them in and prosper. When will they see that the problem has nothing to do with either money or talent. It has to be the culture and the environment. A little less Italian as Bernie says.

23

"A little less Italian"? I guess you'd better mean a little less enduring and sucessful, because Ferrari seems to own the biggest piece of the record book. And nobody wins at this game alll if the time, which is a sign if its difficulty.

24

Is Ferrari getting rid of talent, or is talent seeing what Ferrari really is and leaving?

25

There are plenty of non-Italians at Ferrari

26

Personally I think Paddy Lowe lucked into Newey designed cars at McLaren and inherited the foundations laid by Ross Brawn at Mercedes,not that big a loss for Mercedes I don't think and probably why they haven't appeared desperate to keep him.

27

Yes, Lowe to Williams is a steal for the team for they get a championship winning boffin who can make changes in the teams running of affairs and perhaps convince some more engineering talent to join him

Of course a lot of people will owe Rosberg a thank you card as he believes in giving opportunity to younger talent as shown by his early retirement.

Regards Mercedes, with Allison reportedly headed to the team, they may have re-written the rule book where a team isn't under one technical director but rather under numerous technical directors which has proven successful in times of complex rule changes

In conclusion, what I think Lowe arrival will affect Williams is that it will give the team a new lease on life as usually new blood is all that is needed to turn around fortunes

28

Exactly. This new blood that could hopefully show a bit of drive and aggression instead of what outwardly appears like a nice Uncle at a wedding. Being great at pit stops is not enough and I really want to see Williams as tough competitor again.

29

@ Dirk.diggler

Unfortunately to be a tough competitor in sport you need huge reserves of capital which Williams are lacking in the form of sponsors as they haven't been successful in recent times

30

did rosberg say he retired to give younger talent an opportunity or did you make that up?

31

@ richb

True, Rosberg didn't directly say he is retiring for younger drivers but his act subconsciously shows he supports younger talent

32

Ha!! You speak for Rosberg's subconscious now? Truly we readers are blessed.

What if Button had inherited the seat?

33

@ Tom in Adelaide

Hahaha... But Jenson isn't legible for the seat as the team are looking for a long term prospect

34

wow you know what he subconsciously thinks! you should be a palm reader. come on goferet stick with reality

35

@ richb

Hahaha okay

36

They will always be a subsidiary of Mercedes and as things stand they can't ever hope to touch the highs in 80s or 90s

37

@ Tarun

Certainly things change and Williams aren't hoping to relive the 80s and 90s

Nowadays Williams sole aim is to climb up the constructor's table and thus gain resources to pour back in the team

38

literally how far up they can really go with their attitude...Atleast force india had two fast and reliable drivers their 17 lineup is just a money grab and to keep a few sponsors happy...Williams form has been overshadowed by the new engine era...they had the powerful merc in 14 when the engine's advantage was the highest. You will have to expect that Mclaren will leapfrog them next season so the only place I see them moving is backwards...Felipe was a good driver in his time but with new rules they had an opportunity to reboot but they went negative again!

39

TArun, if Pirelli really developed a tire with less degradation for the next season I think we will be able to see Felipe improving a lot. He has never able to adapt his agressive style with the poor tires that Pirelli provided. Lest wait and see

40

@ tarun

I guess with the 2017 rule changes, Williams felt they had no choice but to hire Massa for his experience & set up work

It's correct that Massa isn't as quick as in the past but he was the only available option as Jenson wasn't willing to join the team

Regards 2017, Williams will have a shot retaining 5th in the constructor's if they can beat Force India this time round

41

and hopefully help them to do better at qualifying....and practice runs...they have been falling behind and sandbagging (seemingly) every race. Just get out there and drive the car's tires off.

42

@ Kurik

Indeed, qualifying and the low speed corners are top of Williams goals.

Hopefully Lowe will take with him some insider knowledge

43

Goferet, so Nico retired because he believes in giving new talent an opportunity?! Of course he does.......!

44

I think Nico retired because he didnt think he would beat Lewis in 2017, after how hard it was in 2016 and if Lewis's engine hadnt failed in Malaysia who knows he may not have won the WDC and been forced to try again in 2017.

45

@ TimW

Definitely Rosberg deserves a humanitarian award because everybody else would hold onto their seats for as long as possible

46

Goferet, I would vote for him!

47

The narrative surrounding Mercedes success and it all (or most of it) being put down to the structure and recruitment implemented by Ross Brawn means that gauging Paddy Lowe's influence at the team is somewhat difficult beyond praising him and Toto Wolff for sustaining the success conceived by Brawn.

48

Money/resources wins in F1. It will continue to be that way.

49

@dren - true, but that structure ensures that the money and resources are used as effectively as possible.

50

Oh yeah so why wasn't Mercedes winning with Ross brawn? He had enough time for restructuring. Obviously the way totto ran the team with respect to brawn is totally different. I'm glad he left otherwise we would have seen Hamilton given a Schumacher status and would have killed f1 forever

51

Because the rule changes that Brawn had prepared three years for occurred just months after he had left the team. Lowe came into a house hat had already been built and furnished. Obviously...

52

you're giving him too much credit...yes he ran the team but then toto and lauda were already there as well.

53

I really don't think so. Lauda and Wolff came in long after the likes of Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa had been recruited by Brawn to focus almost exclusively on development for the new rule changes. Really isn't that hard to give Ross 'too much credit'.

54

2009? Jenson Button? With a Mercedes engine?

55

Well that should bring a wry smile to the face of Brawn 😉.
Allison heading to Mercedes now that's another bonus for Mercedes.
Williams have old man Massa and Lowe.
Hopefully Lowe will bring some good ideas back into Williams car development.
So Pat Symonds to Renault then and Alonso hankering back to the good old days 😉?

56

If Paddy goes to Williams, it is unlikely that he will have much impact on the 2017 car; his focus should go directly to the 2018 car.

What about the previously mentioned rumours about Key also going to Williams, and how this fits into the overall picture?

Is the Lowe move not ultimately for the team principal role?

57
Thread the Needle

Interesting that Paddy has left Mercedes after all the success plus he said he enjoyed working with toto and wanted to stay, is it the start of the end of their domination, time will tell

58

James, do you think there is more to it than simply getting to the end of the merc contract for Paddy Lowe, why leave a team which are so successful? Also do you think his departure will have an effect on the team or will they cope without him?

59
The Grape Unwashed

RobertS, that's the question I wanted to ask too. It seems strange to move from a first tier team which is currently winning everything to a second tier team which might scrape the odd win in the future if it's lucky. I'd love to know whether something/someone at Mercedes prompted this move.

60

I look forward to Lewis's book! Over the years he has said a few things which implies that a lot goes on behind the scenes.

61

How long do they have to wait to announce James Allison? Is there a moratorium on confirming his inevitable re-employment due to when/how/why he left Ferrari or is he a totally free agent?

62

How long will it be before we discover what has been going on at Mercedes. Rumour has it that Lowe earned around £3m in the last 2 seasons, I can't see the notoriously tight and skint Williams team matching even half of that salary.

Has Paddy Lowe been scuttled by the same skullduggery that Ross Brawn suffered when Tonto and Lauda sailed into Brackley? Has the little man of Princess Gate been sticking his oar in, again?

Has the 2017 Mercedes failed to hit the development targets to remain the car to beat? Is the gearbox still only working when it feels like it?

I suppose we'll have to wait for the book.

63

The fact that lowe is going to williams would suggest that he is padding up for a decent innings based on a success fee which contains share options linked to on track success. That would be a great incentive and cost the williams family less in the long run. The fact remains though that we still don't know why he left mercedes and that would be key to understanding what his future may contain...

64

When you consider what the Mercedes board's motivations might have been in the light of Brawns recent comments you quickly conclude that they didn't trust Brawn and that the feeling was mutual. That is perhaps because both of his famous teams were as famous for their on track controversies and off track politics as they were for winning.

He claims he doesn't understand their actions (he really isn't that naive of a player), which is obviously nonsense because what he is describing is exactly what happened at Ferrari post 1995. Todt bought in Schumacher, who brought with him Brawn, Byrne and 11 others from Benetton. They pushed out the existing power structures at Ferrari and effectively ended Benetton as a team - it was only when that triumvirate's political power waned that Schumacher retired and Maranello's legendary politics reasserted itself.

In any case Stuttgart clearly knew the history and who they were dealing with - they were building for long term success and didn't want that future to be based around a single individual (and 'give me what I want or I walk' power plays). It escapes many people's notice but Mercedes is a team at all levels unlike most of its rivals.

TL;DR Brawn made a power play and lost.

Brawn is a great winner but is often lionised without considering his record critically enough - particularly the Benetton days and the early Ferrari years.

RE: Mercedes current situation it looks like Lowe wanted to buy into the team as Lauda and Wolff have or to move up the ladder to team principal. I expect Frank knows his time is short and want to step aside for Claire while putting someone who knows how to win in the current era in charge of the team.

65

@Tony - is any of your post based on fact or just what you've imagined?

66

Every word of it is in the public domain.

67

@Tony - The very first line of your original comment says

"...When you consider what the Mercedes board's motivations ****might**** have been..."

That makes your reply total fantasy.

68

Only in your mind.

69

In the end, It all worked out very well for Massa and Allison. Big question is, why Ferrari didn't accept Lowe? Is it truly the reason that, Ferrari "doesn't need mercenaries"? Any further info regarding this matter?

70
Clarks4WheelDrift

Maybe he didn't come with a memory stick full of £800million of development of PU research docs and specs 😉

71

WOW! What a loss for Lewis, the defeated champion.
IF I were him, I would pay the money gap from my own pocket to guarantee Lowe stay.
After so many years working together they probably had more than synergy, they had communion and perfect technical understanding of each other.
They have worked together for 9.5 years!!!
McLaren => 2007 - 2012
Mercedes => Jun/2013 - 2016
The longest pairing of Driver and Engineer of F1 ?
Maybe only the Rosberg and Ross Bell pair can surpass their mark.

72

Deweberis, Paddy has never been Lewis' race engineer.

73

I mean... Rosberg's engineer was Tony Ross.

74

But why,,,,?

75

Does he start immediately at Williams? Or is he on gardening leave first?

76

Gardening leave untill Frank signs over Bottas for what what Toto is prepared to pay.

77

James Allison to Merc? It seems they are following a strategy of not letting the top guys go anywhere, at most a fifo trade off (first in first out). It makes sense for Merc... but what about the engineers themselves? Surely they must have a drive to challenge the dominant force rather than turn it into more of a power house than it already is!

78

It would be good to believe that, but it appears 1.5m per annum is closer to the truth. I would be the same!

79

Hmmm...Will be interesting to see how Paddy handles the team. I have seen him make some technical mistakes in the past most notably interfering with the last race at the end but he is a solid bloke otherwise. Not too keen to see Massa back behind hte wheel. Don't think he has it in him to be honest and I have always been a backer of the man and hoping for his resurgence since the accident. He hasn't delivered and I don't see him delivering going forward. Alas, situation is time sensitive and Williams are playing it safe so hopefully they aren't abysmal later this year.

80

Sooooo... Allison could land at Merc?
I mean, Ferrari cannot buy a break!

81
Tornillo Amarillo

James two questions:

1. is Dad Stroll paying for Lowe?

2. is Ferrari at the same level of Merc and RB after the 2017-suspension clarification?

82

It's a bit of a teaser to say his contract expired at the end of 2016 and "negotiations were reported to be difficult". That would seem to be the core of the whole story, but you don't want to tell us what the difficulties were?
Personally, I should have expected that with James Allison available as a replacement, any negotiations with Paddy Lowe would be fairly half-hearted, but it would be useful to know whether M-B had a similar view.

83

Think it's basically to do with Mercedes overpaying for Lowe initially. Apparently he was making 3m a year, far more than other top people at Merc. Of course that will cause tension over time. Lowe can't be blamed for that at all, that would be more on Toto.

84

Why were there any negotiations at all if his contract expired?? As to why he left, guess we'll have to wait for Lewis' book... 🙂

86

Three points: 1) I find it very interesting that Mercedes let Paddy Lowe go. He was an important person at McLaren - I think Martin Whitmarsh described him as the man who designed their cars. And he was part of the dream technical team at Mercedes. I would have thought after their success Mercedes would have wanted to keep that team together.
2) surely Williams negotiate away the gardening leave.
3) I feel that the Massa question is quite vexed. On the one hand, I understand why Williams would want to have experienced driver this season. On the other hand, Massa was just not on the pace for long periods last season and on that performance, I would have been keen to get someone else. It seems to be a pretty significant shunning of Pascal Wehrelin. Next year he would not be in his rookie season. And, to be honest, I think he had a better season last year than Massa did. Additionally, Williams may have been able to negotiate a free Mercedes driver, some cost off the engines and a gardening leave free Paddy Lowe.
If that deal wasn't going to break through because of Martini what about JEV? The guy was nearly as good as Ricciardo at Torro Rosso and has been doing Ferrari work, so should have been able to give decent feedback on comparisons between the regs.
If it didn't work out with either, (give one of them a five race contract) then put Massa in the car. While I admire not holding Bottas back, there will be big money lost if Williams go down another place in the constructors, which has got to be a risk, seeing where McLaren is and even Renault (though that seems very unlikely).

87

lowe didn't design a single f1 car. never involved in a design team, more a development engineer.

88

Paddy Lowe did not design all of McLaren's cars. McLaren have used 2 teams of engineers to design alternate year's cars. More to the point, McLaren hasn't had a winning car for years, the 2012 car was a complete failure and was, I believe, designed by Lowe.

89

As far as I recall, the 2012 McLaren was actually pretty good in terms of speed, winning a handful of races and clearly the pacesetter at the beginning and end of the season. But it was let down by a lack of reliability and there were a couple of races when the team was a bit lacklustre in the middle of the season - hence they dropped out of championship contention despite having a car that was often the fastest one out there.

But even if the Mercedes structure was put in place by Ross Brawn prior to 2014, credit must be given to the Lowe/Wolff/Lauda triumvirate for continuing to keep up the development and stay ahead of the opposition for three seasons. If it was all down to Brawn, we would have expected to see a drop-off over time as the legacy of his involvement faded - but that hasn't happened.

90

Sky are reporting that Paddy will be the team boss st Williams, rather than technical director, and that he wanted equity in the team to go there. Any idea if this is correct? Did Paddy leave of his own volition, or was he ousted to make way for Allison? Does this mean Merc rate James higher than Lowe? Or would they not want to work with each other?

91

To be established but I'd have though Paddy was not was interested in the political side of the sport

Brawn is the case study, with a string commercial CEO alongside

We will see

93

Thanks James, I guess all these questions will be answered when the rumour mill starts up again!

94

The deal to let bottas go almost makes sense now.
Hopefully Lowe is the Patrick Head replacement they have been looking for as he will be arriving with fresh ideas from the top table.Probably worth more long term than locking Bottas down.
Dunno which driver will be available post Massa but he could suddenly have a good year and carry on in 2018 as well if they tell him he is team no1 and treat him like it. Remember he crushed Kimi and was making alonso work before usual ferrari stupidity squashed it all.

95

Kimi knew he was being dumped by Ferrari due to Alonso and Santander. Massa also was having the best season of his life.
Massa never did anything before or since to make the list of the great drivers. No qualifying magic, no lap records, no regular out driving the car to glory. Just nice guy... Oh and donut king in the rain!
Williams are taking him back because they need the money and because the have enough risk in the already signed teenager to last a lifetime.

96

Why was Paddy Lowe's discussion with Mercedes fraught with difficulties?

97

Negotiations were difficult? What exactly does that mean? Surely, sitting at the head of the table with three successive championships years featuring as notches on your belt would be difficult to abandon. Was the difficulty with remuneration? was it status? Would be helpful if these questions could be expanded on as it would help to understand the move a bit more clearly.

98

Oh no! Another season with Felipe Masssa? He's a granny, better call Pedro de la Rosa. Or Jenson Button.

99

Alejandro, I guess you are joking about Felipe being the "granny" of that group?
Massa =35
Button =36
De La Rosa =45!

100

This may turn out to be the best thing to happen to Williams .... well this century really. Will Sir Frank let go of the Team Principal tag ? At a pinch I can see Paddy in a similar double act with Claire Williams to the one he was in with Toto .. but he'd need to be very bored with Mercedes success to move without making a step up. And I don't believe he's been levered out by politics. What's in it for him ?

Potentially a disaster for Mercedes: no-one is irreplaceable (or as General DeGaulle said 'The graveyards are full of irreplaceable men') but whilst those senior directors include some competent names none of them is a team principal in waiting. And how many quality people will follow Lowe down the A43 ?

101

Hamilton to follow after 2018

102

I don't think he will do it to follow paddy, that's not what I meant. I think perhaps Lewis well get tired of Toto and Niki. He HAS question the legitimacy of his lack of reliability, which means that he doesn't trust them. With Bottas coming in and his manager being Toto, perhaps Lewis will want to switch teams and of there's a resurgence at Williams he might want to go there. I don't see him at Ferrari, they don't fit with his lifestyle

103
The Grape Unwashed

I'd love to see Hamilton at Williams, but unless they have a ridiculous improvement in form I think McLaren is more likely. I agree that he must be getting sick of Mercedes' management.

104

What makes people think that Lewis Hamilton is desperate to have Paddy Lowe at his side? When Lowe left McLaren he was heading to Williams. Tonto was very much involved with Williams at that time, then Tonto got the job at Mercedes and took Lowe with him. There was no tie up with Lewis Hamilton at all.

105

hamilton doesn't need to surround himself with hand picked professionals to win and Mercedes will not let him go without a fight.

106

Racing wise I see no reason for Williams to resign massa. He totally looked like he's done with f1 had not much speed left. They could have gone for so many other hungry drivers. Also the thing about having someone to please sponsors doesn't make any sense either. I wonder really how much martini will use massa face to pursue their drinking campaign

107

This Bottas deal is getting more complicated all the time!

108

Massa out of retirement is the most bizarre part of the whole story. He checked out years ago and the unstable emotional displays he put on towards the end were the best evidence that bringing him back is a huge mistake.
Let him retire fat and happy in a well grassed paddock. Whether Stroll is the real deal or not, he will likely beat FM from day one. Williams would be better to go with two young "gambles" than to have one gamble and one gauranteed plodder. A left field pick that would have been massively interesting for F1 would have been to put the rally world champion into the car, as VW were pulling out anyway. That guy is young, super talented and would be a good match for LS.

109

Luke, Felipe is the only driver available who fits their needs. Martini need a driver over the age of 25 to promote their alcaholic drinks, and the Stroll contract demands a senior driver to partner Lance.

110

Reading elsewhere one of the challenges for team Willy is thattheir main sponsor is a "mature" alcohol brand. They need a more mature driver that can support their marketing. Two young hot shoes doesn't cut it in the Martini lounge
...

111

Williams are sponsored by Martini. Martini have an image associated with older people, not teenagers. For that reason they need one older driver at Williams. Massa fits the bill.

112

Oh and theres currently no one else available!

113

Williams can only benefit vastly from Lowe's wealth of experience, but I think Mercedes have the right man lined up to replace him.

114

For those asking the reasonable question; "why Massa, he's lost his pace, washed-up, etc.", I would,suggest that the key sentence in James' piece is; "Williams, with the impetus of the Stroll family, ...". Laurence Stroll does not want his son going up against anyone who might make him look bad. So, e.g., getting narrowly beat by Bottas would be OK, in fact viewed favorably, whereas getting beat by a Wehrlein would be a disaster. Getting beat by Massa would not be good, but may be explained with rapidly-waving hands, and is far less likely.

115

Presumably this is the end of Williams' long-term preference for straight-line speed over cornering downhole?

116

Anyone but Massa ,the guy is finished and he was never that good anyway.

117

Paddy clearly wants to run a team.
He's not gonna be running Mercedes while toto is there so time to move on.
Team success isn't the same as personal success.

Conspiratorialy speaking, could it be that paddy was forced by toto to tell Lewis to speed up at the last race?
Maybe this was something paddy wasn't happy to do and became the deciding factor in moving on.

118
The Grape Unwashed

f1canmaker:

Maybe this was something paddy wasn't happy to do and became the deciding factor in moving on.

Here's Lowe himself -

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2016/12/05/lowe-refused-to-give-hamilton-second-order-to-speed-up/

I think Wolff is likely to have told him to instruct Hamilton to speed up, it sounds like Lowe was less than convinced it was necessary!

119

why would mercedes want james allison ? i don't think allison is top shelf. his last championship winning car ?

120

As some others have said, F1 is not a place for sentiment, and I think Williams will come to regret bringing Massa back - he mentally checked out one he was shown the door to retirement, and is more and more prone to letting his emotions overshadow his professionalism. If Williams want to move up the grid and be considered a top team again, they have to think and act like a top team.

121

The description of ‘difficult negotiations’ around Lowe’s departure may not be only, or even mainly, directly with him. Rosberg has caused Mercedes a whole bunch of headaches and almost all of them are interconnected.

They want a replacement driver from another team who use their engines. That team wants a lot to put their own plans in the bin. That driver has a contract which needs to be abrogated. His management includes the Mercedes CEO raising possible conflicts of interest.

The customer team driver’s replacement needs the sponsors to agree and a contract to be agreed. I don't know about you but if someone wanted to drag me out of retirement I might be rather fussy about the terms, not just the money but behind the scenes requirements.

At the same time the technical head of Mercedes wants to be team principal at a team he was heading for when Mercedes grabbed him. That makes him an element in the negotiations for the driver. On top of that Mercedes worry about customer teams getting too close to them and being a real competitor. Their technical boss moving to a customer team increases that anxiety. But on the other hand the top three in Mercedes may not have been working as smoothly together as the main board would like?

Mercedes have their eyes on a Lowe replacement but he has contractual restrictions and is being tempted by a number of possible options ( I’d be amazed if such a talent wasn't being chased). The current Mercedes technical team will have their own views on a Lowe replacement or rather the way that replacement fits in and works with them. They are a talented bunch and talented people are often rather fussy about such things.

All this against the background of the new regulations which throw up all sorts of unpleasant prospects on the track, and a three times champion driver who was so pissed off with them that he threatened to quit mid season and still will be wary of them. What will a Lowe replacement mean to him?

And all to a very tight deadline in practical, regulatory and professional terms.

So, overall, it is not an exaggeration when Lauda says it is ‘complicated’.

I’d say it is.

122

Plus if you are going to lose someone good to a rival, its preferable that he goes to a team that won't be able to cause many problems. Williams are at least two seasons away from any real chance of success.

123

Does Lowe know something we don't about how competitive williams will be in 2017? or is he just winding his career down and going back to where he started? Also why are williams not considering Di resta instead of brining back massa? they are arguably similarly paced with di rest being younger he could be a long term solutions he is just as fast as any1 else they could bring in? he's their reserve driver so it would seem logical to me

124

Massa is possibly considered by Williams to be a better bet as a development driver, given his long standing in the team.

125

With all due respect to James Allison, why is he so highly rated?

126

Drugs are bad mmmkay...

127

James,
is Williams where Lowe wanted to go all along?

thanks,

peter

128

I got a feeling that perhaps Williams going to move to honda engine in 2018 depending their 2017 performance james could you give us your thoughts on this and james key?

129

Why would they?
For the Bottas move they are practically four engines for the price of two ? That is assume will be as long as they have Bottas. Why go for an unreliable engine when you can have the best for half the price ?
It's a win win for Williams.

130

Not a Merc fan.
But Toto earns my high respect the way he treats his team and other teams.
He ain't perfect but thats how you treat a team member leaving.
With praise!

131

I don't know why Mercedes is interested in James Allison. He didn't cut it at Renault/Lotus and he didn't cut it at Ferrari (while profiting from McLaren Hondas and red Bull Renaults lack of form). Are they sick of winning?

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!