Paddy Lowe departs Mercedes F1 with a Williams move on the cards

Technical director placed on gardening leave

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes,

Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe

Formula 1 world constructors champions Mercedes have put technical director Paddy Lowe on "gardening leave".

It is understood that he is joining the Williams F1 team, with Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas poised to move in the opposite direction to drive alongside Britain's Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes are currently without a team-mate for 2016 runner-up and three time champion Hamilton after 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg retired.

Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff spoke about Lowe's departure on their official website.

"Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution," he said.

"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."

Lowe joined Mercedes in 2013 and has helped oversee two world driver's titles for Hamilton and one for Rosberg.

Previously, he had been at McLaren including when Hamilton won his first world title in 2008, a decade after helping Mika Hakkinen to back to back titles in 1998 and 1999.