Williams haven't had the easiest of starts to their 2019 campaign, and now the team have confirmed that Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe is taking a leave of absence from the Grove squad for personal reasons.
The news follows a tumultuous few weeks for Williams. After a hugely disappointing 2018 season when they finished bottom of the constructors’ championship with just 7 points, the nine-time teams’ title winners entered 2019 with a new driver line-up, new title sponsor and fresh approach.
However that optimism was quickly eroded when first it was announced they’d cancelled the FW42's shakedown and then that they'd miss the start of pre-season testing because of delays to the new car's production.
After what Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams described as an embarrassing delay, the Mercedes-powered machine finally hit the track on the third of eight days of running in Barcelona, but the time sheet suggests Williams will start the season at the tail of the field.
Lowe is currently in his second stint with Williams, having begun his F1 career with the team in the late 80s. He enjoyed title-winning success with McLaren and Mercedes before re-joining the Grove-based team in March 2017.