Not much has transpired in the past few weeks about Paddy Lowe ‘gardening leave’, or when the former Mercedes tech boss will be free to move to Williams, as expected.
The lack of news could signify that negotiations are still ongoing between the two parties as Lowe was allegedly seeking a senior executive position beyond the role of technical director, a demand Williams may find difficult to fulfill.
According to Auto, Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt however, Force India has now raised doubts about Lowe’s legal ability to move to Williams before the end of an imposed ‘gardening leave’ period which apparently ends in May.
It is believed that negotiations between Williams and Mercedes over Valtteri Bottas‘ move to the German outfit included the possibility of Lowe’s early release, or a shortened ‘gardening leave’ period, to which Force India has replied that FIA rules take precedence over teams’ individual agreements with regard to periods of leave of senior team personnel.
But FIA guidelines have been met in the past with legal challenges related to banning an individual from working, and the governing body has therefore left it up to the teams to negotiate separately their own gardening leave periods.
Thus, the FIA is understood to have no issue with Lowe starting work immediately if both Mercedes and Williams are on the same page.
Former Scuderia tech boss James Allison however, who is set to move to Mercedes to replace Lowe, will have to sit out a period of gardening leave as dictated by Ferrari.
“Ferrari has put him on ice until March,” Schmidt claims.
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