Paddy Lowe has joined the Williams Formula One team from Mercedes. The Briton has been appointed as Williams' chief technical officer and has been made a shareholder in the racing group.
In a statement announcing the long-expected move, Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC said Paddy Lowe would take overall responsibility for engineering at the racing team and be a member of the company's board of directors. Since early January, Lowe had been on "gardening leave" from Mercedes, where he has been replaced as technical director by James Allison.
"Having someone of Paddy's caliber and engineering competence is not only a morale boost for everyone at Williams, but I know it will also significantly support our efforts to return this team back to the front of the grid," Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said in the statement. "This is a game changer for us and once again makes us extremely excited about this team's future."
The statement did not say how big a stake Lowe had been given in the team or where it had come from.
Lowe has been credited with having played an integral role in Mercedes last three consecutive F1 constructors' and drivers' championships, and he had previously won titles at both McLaren and Williams, where he started his career as a control systems engineer in 1987.
"I‘ve always had a deep respect for Williams - my first team in Formula One," Lowe was quoted as saying. "I am extremely motivated to play my part in bringing success back to the team."
The 2017 Formula One season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 26.