Formula 1: Mercedes' Paddy Lowe joins Williams as chief technical officer

Mercedes co-team boss Paddy Lowe (L) and Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg celebrate on the podium after winning the constructors title in the inaugural Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom in Sochi on October 12, 2014
Paddy Lowe was instrumental in helping Mercedes to three consecutive constructors' titles in a row and three world Championships

Former Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe has joined Williams as chief technical officer.

The 54-year-old left Mercedes in January and a move to Williams has been mooted since December, but the deal took longer than expected to complete.

Lowe, one of the most highly regarded technical leaders in Formula 1, will have responsibility for the engineering side of the entire Williams business.

This includes the F1 team but also the Advanced Engineering commercial arm.

Lowe, who started work at Williams on Thursday, will also be on the board of directors and take an undisclosed shareholding in the company.

Lowe was executive director (technical) at Mercedes from 2013, and led the team through three consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship doubles from 2014-16.

But he was put on gardening leave by Mercedes this winter after a difference of opinion with F1 boss Toto Wolff about the future direction of the team.

Lowe has been replaced by James Allison, who has been given a different title of technical director, having left that position at Ferrari last year.

Lowe's three full seasons at Mercedes
2014: Mercedes win their first constructors' title (16/19 race wins), and Lewis Hamilton wins world championship
2015: Mercedes win constructors' title again (16/19 race wins), and Lewis Hamilton retains world title
2016: Mercedes win third consecutive constructors' title (19/21 race wins), and Nico Rosberg wins world title

For Lowe, it means a career coming full circle. He started work in F1 at Williams in 1987 and played a central role in the development of the active suspension system on the dominant FW14B car with which Nigel Mansell won the 1992 world title, and its successor the FW15C, with which Alain Prost was victorious in 1993.

Lowe joined McLaren in 1993 and stayed there until moving to Mercedes, rising to the position of technical director.

Lowe 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."

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: "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."

Lowe joins Williams after a season in which they slipped from third to fifth in the constructors' championship.

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