Williams has appointed ex-Mercedes man Paddy Lowe as its chief technical officer, bringing to an end months of speculation. The Briton will begin his role with the Grove-based outfit with immediate effect.

Lowe will also join the board of directors alongside Claire Williams and group CEO Mike O’Driscoll, working towards pushing the Williams group into the future.

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In January, Mercedes announced Lowe’s departure from the team after spending three and half years as executive technical director, winning three constructors’ championships back to back.

Starting his Formula One career with Williams in 1987 as a control systems engineer, Lowe worked with Sir Patrick Head and Adrian Newey.

In his six years with the team he helped pioneer the active suspension system that took Nigel Mansell to the 1992 World Championship in the FW14B.

On his appointment, Lowe said: “I‘ve always had a deep respect for Williams – my first team in Formula One. It is a huge honour to return in this leadership position and to have the opportunity to become a shareholder.

“I am extremely motivated to play my part in bringing success back to the team. The vision for the future set out by the Williams Board is powerful and has compelled me to join an organisation committed to building on its unique legacy and to reaching the pinnacle of Formula One once again.

“I’m looking forward to this exciting new phase to my career working with Claire, Mike and Nick and with the rest of this great team – especially Frank himself, who is one of the most committed “racers” I know!”

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After winning seven drivers’ titles and five constructors’ titles in his 29-year career in Formula 1 so far, Lowe is one of the most coveted and highly respected engineers within the paddock.

“I am delighted that the team is welcoming Paddy back to Williams in the role of Chief Technical Officer,” Claire Williams added.

“Having someone of Paddy’s calibre 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.

“Our ambitions at Williams are unwavering, we want to win races and championships, but to do that you need the best talent in the business.

“In Paddy we believe we have just that as well as a leader who will drive change. This is a game changer for us and once again makes us extremely excited about this team’s future.”