Motorsport: Mercedes confirm departure of Paddy Lowe

Paddy Lowe in the garage during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images
Paddy Lowe in the garage during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team will head into the new Formula One season without Paddy Lowe after the British technical chief decided to leave the sport's world- championship winning constructor.

Lowe, the 54-year-old Briton, has played an integral role in Mercedes' domination in the sport in recent times, culminating in a hat-trick of successive constructor and driver titles.

But Lowe, whose contract with Mercedes was due to expire in May, has been placed on gardening leave with Williams set to be his next destination.

Williams refused to comment when contacted by Press Association Sport on Tuesday.

"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."

Lowe's decision to quit Mercedes - and his proposed switch to Williams - is likely to trigger Valterri Bottas' move in the other direction with the Finnish driver expected to team up with Hamilton following world champion Nico Rosberg's retirement.

Felipe Massa, the Brazilian veteran who only called time on his career at the end of last season, is set to re-sign for Williams once Bottas' move to Mercedes is complete.

Lowe, who joined Mercedes in 2013, is tipped for a leading role at Williams after chief technical officer Pat Symonds parted company with the British team last year.

It would mark Lowe's second career at Williams following a six-year stint with the team before a 20-year spell at McLaren prior to his Mercedes move.

"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," team boss Toto Wolff added.

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

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

Highly-rated British designer James Allison, who left Ferrari last August, is expected to replace Lowe at Mercedes.

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