The news from Mercedes today that Paddy Lowe has left the team had been rumoured for a while. The decision itself seems simple enough, Lowe feels he has got everything he can out of his time at Mercedes – three double World Championships isn’t bad.
But as far as the move itself is concerned, it is probably the best outcome Mercedes could have possibly hoped for. The departure of their hugely experienced and successful technical chief will no doubt have an effect on the team for the short term. But in James Allison, they appear to have a replacement of a very similar calibre. Allison is due to join to the team later in 2017 if the rumours are to be believed.
Perhaps the biggest positive about Lowe’s switch is his destination of choice. Williams just so happen to be the current team of proposed Rosberg replacement Valtteri Bottas. Could it be that Williams see the arrival of Paddy Lowe as a suitable payment for the release of their star driver? I suspect that may well be the case.
This second point is an unfortunate attribute of Formula One in its current state – as it stands, Williams will never be able to beat Mercedes. As long as there is a Mercedes engine sat in the back of a Williams car, the former will hold an unassailable advantage over their customer team. The fact is that Mercedes will always have a better understanding of how their own engine works and how best to package it within their car. As engine customers, Williams are always going to be slightly on the back foot.
So from Mercedes’ point of view, they may have lost a key element to their team, but they can be fairly safe in the knowledge that Paddy Lowe will not be about to scupper their dominance any time soon.
Perhaps in the long term, Paddy’s expertise will be enough to bring the team back to the front of the pack. I am sure that idea has crept into the minds of those at Williams.