Williams technical chief Lowe takes 'leave of absence'

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has taken a "leave of absence" from the team with little more than a week until the opening race of the 2019 season.

The Grove-based outfit said in a statement that Lowe was taking a break for "personal reasons".

The news comes after Williams missed the first two days of pre-season testing in Barcelona because of delays in getting their car ready.

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.

The 2018 car was the first built under Lowe's guidance after he joined the team from Mercedes in 2017.

It is not yet clear whether Lowe will return to the position.

Lowe is an experienced figure in the Formula One paddock, having previously been part of successful McLaren and Mercedes teams over more than 30 years in the sport.

The season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

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