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Lowe: My greatest challenge

NEWS STORY
17/07/2018

Enjoying title-winning success with Williams, McLaren and Mercedes, even though he only entered F1 in 1987, Paddy Lowe has personally overseen some of the sport's greatest innovations in that time including active suspension, powered brakes and steering and seamless gear-shifting.

Leaving Mercedes for Williams at the start of 2017 one might have expected the success to continue, what with the Grove outfit having finished in the top five for four successive seasons.

Yet, halfway through his second season, Williams, like fellow 'garagiste' McLaren, is struggling, both teams looking and sounding nothing like the powerhouses of just a couple of decades ago.

Once rightly considered giants of the sport, only recently we witnessed both teams almost begging for the sport to introduce a budget cap and divide the prize pot more evenly, something unthinkable during their respective golden eras.

For Williams, as with McLaren, precisely what went wrong, what caused this state of affairs isn't clear, but what is clear is that both are mere shadows of their former selves.

As his team goes into the final double header before the summer break, Lowe admits that turning things around at Grove is one of the greatest challenges of his career.

"There have been some other challenges I faced on different occasions, but this is a new challenge for me anyway," he admits, according to Motorsport.com.

"Through the years I've been fortunate not to work in a team that wasn't part or within reach of the front, performance wise. That is where we were always playing, in the top ten and towards the front of top 10 or at the very front end.

"It is a new experience for me to work in a team, which has a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be," he adds.

"So that creates some new challenges for me personally, and I am learning all the time. Some things you get right, some things, if I had my last year again, I would do differently. But I think that is the nature of life.

"You face challenges and you learn from them and hope that that builds your experience to do a better job next time."

However, much like Zak Brown in his comments following the 'departure' of Eric Boullier, Lowe appears to offer mere platitudes as opposed to a serious plan of action.

"I think the more we get into understanding where we are, and why, and what is not working, I think the more positive that makes me feel about the progress that we can make," he said. "We've got a great team, you know. There are some great creative people back at Grove. And I think if we can work in the right direction, which we are now turning round to do, I think we can make some really good progress."

Coming off the back of a home race that saw both cars start from the pitlane and finish 12th and 14th of 14, Lowe admits that focus will soon switch to the 2019 car meaning that the 9 times constructors' champions and chassis for 7 championship winning drivers, will most likely finish last in the 2018 standings.

"As we get to this point of the year, which is common with all the teams, the focus goes very much more on the current car towards pieces and developments which are also relevant into next year," he said. "I think we are definitely moving into that mode now with this car, which should be common with the other teams I would expect.

"Because although the rules are changing for next year quite significantly, there are still many aspects of the car for which the development and the learning on this car was still carry across. So, for instance, we probably won't do a lot of work on front wing endplates for the rest of this year, but that's because it's a big change for next year."

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1. Posted by Stitch431, 19/07/2018 5:46

""It is a new experience for me to work in a team, which has a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be," I can imagine that as at McLaren he "inherited" a perfect car developed by Adrian Newey and with Mercedes he "inherited" a perfect car developed by Ross Brawn. Now that it comes to developing a car all by himself, it turns out he is having a slight bit of difficulty here ..."

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2. Posted by GrahamG, 18/07/2018 5:54

"Teams like Williams always relaid on innovation rather than pure financial muscle. With the FIA intent on driving innovation out of the sport by banning anything which looks as though it might give a team an advantage Williams will struggle to get back to the top.
A great shame as it disadvantages one of the great innovators"

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