Paddy Lowe has started work as the Williams Formula 1 team’s chief technical officer, it was announced today.
Lowe, who has spent the last three-and-a-half seasons as the executive director (technical) of the all-conquering Mercedes squad, moves back to the team where he started his F1 career in 1987 as a control systems engineer.
The 54-year-old spent six years with Williams during his first spell with the team, where he worked alongside Sir Frank Williams, Sir Patrick Head and Adrian Newey, and notably helped to create the squad’s active suspension system that helped it dominate F1 during the first half of the 1990s.
Lowe will have overall responsibility for managing Williams’ engineering operations and will also join the board of directors and take a shareholding in the company.
Speaking after his appointment was confirmed, Lowe, who also worked at McLaren for a 20-year spell between 1993 and 2013 first as head of research and development, then chief engineer, engineering director and ultimately technical director, described the “honour” he felt at rejoining Williams as a senior manager.
He said: “I‘ve always had a deep respect for Williams – my first team in Formula 1. It is a huge honour to return in this leadership position and to have the opportunity to become a shareholder.
“I am extremely motivated to play my part in bringing success back to the team. The vision for the future set out by the Williams Board is powerful and has compelled me to join an organisation committed to building on its unique legacy and to reaching the pinnacle of Formula 1 once again.
“I’m looking forward to this exciting new phase to my career working with Claire, Mike O’Driscoll [Williams’ group CEO] and Nick Rose [chairman of the board] and with the rest of this great team – especially Frank himself, who is one of the most committed “racers” I know!”
Claire Williams, the Grove-based squad’s deputy team principal, outlined her hopes that Lowe’s arrival can give Williams a boost in its ambitions to return to the front of the F1 grid.
She said: “I am delighted that the team is welcoming Paddy back to Williams in the role of chief technical officer. Having someone of Paddy’s calibre and engineering competence is not only a morale boost for everyone at Williams, but I know it will also significantly support our efforts to return this team back to the front of the grid.
“Our ambitions at Williams are unwavering, we want to win races and championships, but to do that you need the best talent in the business. In Paddy we believe we have just that as well as a leader who will drive change. This is a game changer for us and once again makes us extremely excited about this team’s future.”
Lowe’s appointment caps an off-season that featured a lot of staff reshuffling at Williams, particularly in its technical department. Pat Symonds left at the end of last year and a number of senior technical staff in the aerodynamic and production departments also moved on, with former Ferrari chief aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer hired to head up the squad’s aero team.
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