Lowe takes leave of absence from Williams

The 2019 Williams

The 2019 Williams

Williams finished with only seven points last season, kept off the bottom of the constructors' championship only by the former Force India team, who were stripped of all points won before their takeover.

Last year's Williams was the first designed by Lowe, but their season was challenging with aerodynamic problems on the vehicle, which led to them finishing tenth overall - Williams' worst in their history in the sport.

It entered 2019 with a refreshed driver line-up in the form of Robert Kubica and George Russell while UK-based communications firm ROKiT replaced Martini as title partner.

The vehicle eventually ran for the first time on the third day of the eight-day pre-season test.

Williams completed the least mileage across the course of the two tests and its vehicle was comfortably the slowest, with both Kubica and Russell finishing at the foot of the timesheets.

Hansen hails departing captain Read as ‘one of the greats’
Read, who captained New Zealand against the British & Irish Lions in 2017, had won two World Cups and will turn 34 in October. Toyota also signed former South Africa assistant coach Gert Smal, adding him to the staff of current head coach Jake White.

His departure comes after the team failed to complete its new FW42 chassis in time for it to participate in the start of testing.

Two years ago, Paddy Lowe was the messiah for Williams.

The team confirmed Lowe "has taken a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons", effective immediately.

No further information was supplied.

But, one week before the F1 season begins in Australia, it has emerged that Lowe has stepped away from his role. It is unclear relating to his long-term future at the team or whether someone will fill his position for the time being.

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