Paddy Lowe graduated from Cambridge University in 1984 with a degree in engineering and joined Williams F1 in 1987 as joint head of electronics. In 1993 he moved to McLaren to be its head of R&D where he remained until 2001 when he was appointed chief engineer system development, a role focussing on the race programme for the McLaren MP4-20. In 2005 he was promoted to engineering director, taking overall responsibility for all engineering departments and in 2011 he became McLaren's technical director, managing all of the engineering functions of McLaren Racing.
In 2013 he was poached by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to head up the technical side of the team. The move was controversial at the time as it edged out team principal Ross Brawn, who had been running the team since its days under Honda ownership. Lowe was immediately impressed by the work the team had done in preparation for major regulation changes in 2014 and oversaw work on some of the finer details of the dominant W05.