Williams technical director Paddy Lowe has taken “a leave of absence” from the Formula One team on the eve of the new season, they said on Wednesday.
Lowe´s position at the former champions had been called into question after they failed to finish their new car in time for the start of testing in Barcelona and turned up two days late.
The car was also the slowest on track when it did appear, adding to the woes of a team who finished last overall in 2018 and have not won a race since 2012.
The season starts in Australia on March 17.
Lowe joined Williams in 2017 from champions Mercedes but last year´s car, the first under his supervision, proved ill-handling and uncompetitive.
The family-owned British team, who scored only seven points from 21 races last year, have an all-new lineup for 2019 with Formula Two champion George Russell and Poland´s Robert Kubica.