Mercedes confirm Lowe has left the team

2017 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Mercedes’ chief executive director for technical Paddy Lowe has stood down, the team has announced today.

Lowe’s departure has been rumoured for some time, with reports claiming he will return to Williams. Former Ferrari technical director James Allison has been tipped to replace Lowe at Mercedes.

“Following three and a half very successful years, Paddy Lowe will be leaving Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport,” the team said in a statement. “He has now begun a period of garden leave.”

“The company’s Board wishes Paddy well with his future endeavours and thanks him for his significant contribution to the team’s achievements.”

“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 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.”

Lowe joined Mercedes from McLaren in mid-2013. Since then the team has won three consecutive constructors’ championships and its drivers have won all three drivers’ titles.

2017 F1 season

Browse all 2017 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

60 comments on “Mercedes confirm Lowe has left the team”

  1. Thats what happens when you try to force biased teamorders on Hamilton.

    1. @rethla I doubt that it was the main reason but if it is the case I’ll respect him more for his decision, 2017 will be a tough one for the Mercedes team IMO.

    2. More like “this is what happens when a highly rated technical director is given an offer for a better position at another team.”

      1. Indeed @repete86, this was on the cars since maybe the second quarter 2016 and part of it is that Lowe want’s to go “higher up” but there is no room for that at Mercedes with Toto in charge of the team.

        1. @bascb In the context of the team, wasn’t he technically at the same level as Toto? Exec Director (Technical) vs Exec. Director (Business) or however they framed it in 2013?

          Yes, Toto sidled on up to being the effective head of all Mercedes Motorsport activities (essentially assuming Norbert Haug’s role) but Paddy was essentially at the top of the F1 team. Him and Toto effectively only answered to Zetsche and the board of Mercedes.

          I’m not sure how moving to Williams can really be any of a step up, given how the Williams family are the defacto owners and that’s never likely to change. He may be looking to improve their standings in the sport, but given the finances and position as a customer to his previous haunt, it’ll be interesting to find out what Paddy is after with this move.

          1. in the paperworks he probably was @optimaximal, but overall I think it is pretty clear who was actually in command :-)

            I think that at Williams he will be mainly responsible for the team, with Clair stepping up to the President role as more of a figurehead and taking care of where the money is coming from in the future. He will be able to call the progress they make (if they do off course) HIS. And he might have an option of becoming a shareholder in the team he is then building up too, something that was never going to happen at Mercedes (like Toto, who DID have a share of the team)

          2. @bascb Yeah, I did see the occasional mention of ‘Team Principal’ amongst all the speculation, but then Frank is still holding that role at Williams even though he’s effectively not been in that role for years. You may be right – Paddy in to replace Clare, freeing her up to run the company – but I suspect Frank will remain TP until the day his last breath leaves his body, may that day remain far away.

    3. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      10th January 2017, 20:17

      Or suffering the embarrassment from Hamilton ignoring his team orders…?

      1. Just what is your problem with Lewis?

    4. The rumours of his “moving on” are older than AbuD

    5. Or, this is what happens when you try to call Hamilton out at Mercedes.

    6. But when there are biased team orders in Hamilton’s favor you’re just fine with it. Pathetic.

  2. Welcome to Williams then!

  3. I never understood why they moved for Paddy in the first place when they had the best technical leadership in Ross Brawn and I’m not sure he really brought anything as a leader other than the standard McLaren over reliance on data approach. Will be interesting to see if they bring in someone with a bit of an edge or someone more malleable for Toto.

    1. The Brawn – Toto, lauda falling out meant Brawn left and they had to fill a hole. But by all accounts Paddy is very good and he has a history of success

      1. No Brawn left because they hired Paddy

        1. They hired Paddy to replace Brawn yes. There is evidence to suggest that Wolf was already manouvering to get rid of Brawn for other reasons than they just wanted Lowe over Brawn. Colin Colles for instance.

      2. @Blackmamba is right there. When Toto came in he brought Paddy with him (he had previously been luring him to Williams) and for Brawn seeing they were hiring Paddy, combined with the awkward triangle of himself, Toto and Lauda already there was a signal on the wall for Ross. He has said so much in interviews that were published in the last couple of months!

    2. They didn’t. Paddy was convinced by Toto to move with him to Williams to become team principle and he agreed. However when Mercedes replaced Haug with Wolff, he brought him along to Mercedes. So it wasn’t so much Mercedes going Lowe, rather it was Toto’s decision to bring him in

    3. It worked, didn’t it? And just look at what happened to McLaren in his absence. Co-incidence is not causality but Lowe shouldn’t be under-rated.

    4. Brawn left because he wanted to be the sole responsible for the team, him, Toto, Lauda were too many bosses. Now Lowe lefts perhaps for similar reasons, he wants to go up in the hierarchy and that’s impossible with Toto and Lauda there.

      1. Paddy was already an Executive Director of the team alongside Toto. They both out-ranked Lauda, who is a non-exec. director.

        Wolff had his money & existing Mercedes connections to push himself further up the Mercedes hierarchy, where as Lowe was at a glass ceiling, having achieved all he really could.

    5. Brawn left because he wanted to be the sole responsible for the team, him, Toto, Lauda were too many bosses. Now Lowe lefts perhaps for similar reasons, he wants to go up in the hierarchy and that’s impossible with Toto and Lauda there.

    6. @alec-glen Paddy Lowe solved the rear tyre problem Mercedes had, under Hamilton’s input it became less of a problem due Hamilton’s laying positioning of the seat which spread the weigth of the driver more evenly rather then the upsitting postion Rosberg and Schumacher used. Paddy Lowe is a TOP engineer. I wish Paddy all the best.

  4. massa world champion 2017 confirmed

  5. Paddy here……well not anymore……..

  6. So Ross Brawn was correct about Lauda & Wolff 😕

    1. What exactly did Brawn say about Lauda and Wolff?

      1. Pretty much that they went behind his back to the Mercedes board to bring in Lowe as his replacement and that neither would own up to it. Really, this news has no bearing on that, though I do recommend Total Competition. It was a very good read.

        1. Thanks for the clarification, Pete. I will definitely take a look at his book.

    2. Actually Paddy wanted a higher position on the team. Since it was not possible he went away, probably to be Williams new boss.

  7. Exit Pat Symonds, enter Paddy Lowe.

    1. @photogcw – shame, I really rate Pat. Both (old) Renault and Williams have punched well above their weight with him on board

  8. Would be interesting if we could actually get a factual analysis on what it is he contributed to Merc in those 3 and a half years. Everyone kept saying Merc was top heavy and I agreed, but perhaps that is how they built world beating beasts that routed the field for 3 years? Williams will no doubt gain from his knowledge and experience and I wonder how much those Merc secrets will be of benefit to the Grove outfit

    1. Paddy is a pretty well-renowned technical guru in F1 – he pretty much single handedly designed & implemented the suspension control system and traction control of the active Williams cars in the early 90’s.

      As you say, Mercedes has a pretty large think tank that probably works on ideas by committee, but as the Executive Director of the technical side of the team, he was likely instrumental in deciding on the design direction of the cars.

  9. Mercedes is now operating with a skeleton crew of 4 technical directors. How will they manage?

    1. Ha ha love this.

    2. Even numbers is bad for decision making by voting.. they need a uneven number now. Who will leave next ;)

      1. Toto gets a casting vote, Niki gets to moan about it to the press.

    3. @dmw – LMAO!

    4. Nice one!

    5. +1 if a vote is split down the middle do they now flip a coin?

  10. I wonder if this might give Bottas cold feet.

    1. Absolutely not. Mercedes are in a very strong position. Losing Lowe and gaining Allison, as is rumoured, will have little overall affect in such a strong team.

    2. Bottas is Finnish. He probably always has cold feet.

  11. I am starting to believe that Paddy is moving to Ferrari. And if that happens then maybe Lewis will move to Ferrari too in 2018 or 2019? That would be awesome!

    1. That would be good. Ferrari need a TD.

  12. Huge loss for Mercedes. Toto and Niki are more interested in releasing political statements than pointing the team in the right direction (check out the second paragraph of the statement Toto released in relation to Lowe leaving – It’s almost identical to his comments about Lewis after Abu Dhabi, he more or less says it’s the team that matters and Lowe leaving changes nothing, ie Lowe was more or less useless), and the politics at Mercedes will invariably get nastier this year. I think Mercedes will dominate in 2017 but will be caught by other teams towards the end of the season, with their dominance non-existent next season.

  13. I always thought Paddy was a good team player, sad to see him leaving the team. But I believe Mercedes is a very big team to be influenced with his departure. James Allison is his replacement I guess after all.

  14. Does this mean we’ll have to listen to Lewis moan about swapping technical directors if he isn’t winning next year???

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      11th January 2017, 8:00

      Yeah he wants one all to himself ;-p

  15. Well… All is well, It is funny how people question his quality… Dude was chief technical director in 3 most dominant years in F1.

    They probably had him because he was good. Arguably cars were so good, that by association, he was excellent

    We will see now if he was ousted or saw better opportunity elsewhere… As in Italy maybd.. They lack technical director.

  16. Mercedes hired away every single top person they could from every team, as well as having an almost full year of development time on the engine, ahead of the others. Shocking results.

    1. …as well as having an almost full year of development time on the engine, ahead of the others.

      Really? I’m sure that all 3 engines that launched in 2014 had the same actual development time, given that all 3 manufacturers were heavily involved in the consultation on the regulations.

      Just because Mercedes prioritised doing the best job in time for 2014 (including leveraging resources inside Daimler to improve fuel efficiency & drivability, something Renault and Ferrari – via FIAT – could have done) rather than chase development of the EoL V8 engines (as Renault did), it doesn’t mean they had any intrinsic advantage.

  17. Just to make notice of one thing which really doesn’t matter, Mercedes have renamed themselves Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport rather than Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. Just a tidbit nobody I seen has noticed.

    1. Probably in line with them potentially entering Formula E in 2018.

Comments are closed.