Where next for Williams after failed Lowe gamble - F1

Williams technical chief Lowe takes 'leave of absence'

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has stood down from his role nine days before the first practice session for the 2019 F1 season.

Pressure had already begun building on Lowe, who influenced the design of Williams' 2018 auto, when the team registered the lowest finish in its history previous year.

It scored just seven points last season amid fundamental flaws with its overhauled FW41.

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The news comes after Williams missed the first two days of pre-season testing in Barcelona because of delays in getting their vehicle ready.

But a spokesperson for the team said that Rowe will be "taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons", in a message sent to a media WhatsApp group.

As well as his responsibilities as technical chief, Lowe acquired a shareholding in Williams when he joined. A auto that was late for pre-season testing could be tolerated.

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That increased expectations for the FW42 but also raised the significance of the vehicle in terms of the competence of Williams's new senior structure.

No further information was supplied. It is unclear relating to his long-term future at the team or whether someone will fill his position for the time being.

Williams head to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with the least amount of laps in testing.

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