McLaren confirms Lowe moving to Mercedes

Race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren with Paddy Lowe (GBR) McLaren Technical Director on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday 9 October 2011.

Jenson Button celebrates with Paddy Lowe

McLaren’s sporting director, Sam Michael, has finally confirmed what the entire Formula 1 paddock has suspected for some time – Paddy Lowe is heading to Mercedes.

It is a poorly-kept secret that 50-year-old Lowe, formerly McLaren’s technical director, has been placed on ‘gardening leave’ before he moves to Mercedes, perhaps to become the Brackley based team’s new boss in 2014.

But in its media statement last week, McLaren said only that Lowe is embarking “on a fresh challenge in 2014”.

Mercedes has also refused to officially confirm the news. But McLaren’s Michael has now told British broadcaster Sky: “He (Lowe) has taken his choice to move to Mercedes and we wish him all the best.”

Bild, Germany’s biggest newspaper, has heard the same information, reporting that a winning Mercedes would be “a parting gift” from the team’s current boss, Ross Brawn.

“Next season he (Brawn) will be replaced by ex-McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe,” read the report.

Even Mercedes is beginning to sing from that songsheet.

The German newspaper FAZ has quoted motor sport boss and shareholder Toto Wolff as saying, “If Paddy Lowe should come to Mercedes, then there would be a very structured succession plan with Ross, which would be done by mutual goodwill and for the benefit of the team.”