Mercedes confirms Paddy Lowe's departure with immediate effect
The Mercedes F1 team has confirmed that technical chief Paddy Lowe has left the team with immediate effect and will now begin a period of gardening leave.
Lowe's future at Mercedes has been the subject of much speculation over recent months, but the team have refused to comment on his position until Tuesday's announcement confirming his sudden departure.
Whilst a statement from the team confirms he will now undertake a "period of garden leave", it's expected he will join the Williams team before the start of the new season as part of a deal to secure Valtteri Bottas as Nico Rosberg's replacement.
"I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes working with an incredible team of people," commented Lowe.
"I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes."
Head of Mercedes-Benz motorsport Toto Wolff thanked Lowe for his time at Mercedes and insists the team have the right people in place to fill the void.
"Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution to this significant chapter in Mercedes’ motorsport history.
"Success in Formula 1 is not about single individuals but about the strength in depth and technical capability of an organisation.
"We have the talent in place to continue our success of recent years and we plan to build upon it in 2017 and beyond."
The statement adds that "in the short term" the "technical organisation will continue to operate under the proven and established leadership of our senior directors Aldo Costa (Engineering Director), Mark Ellis (Performance Director), Rob Thomas (Chief Operating Officer) and Geoff Willis (Technology Director)."