After the Timo Glock and Toto Wolff stories that broke in Germany on Sunday turned out to be true another surprise emerged last night when Sport Bild suggested that McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe is on his way to Mercedes.
The suggestion was that Lowe had originally been courted by Wolff for Williams, something that made some sense given that a) Mark Gillan’s departure has left a hole and b) Lowe worked for the team for six years before he joined McLaren in 1993, and a return might appeal to him.
The story claims that with Wolff now prioritising Mercedes he wants Lowe to go there instead.
Inevitably the questions to be asked are not only does Mercedes need another technical director in what is already a top heavy squad, but also who is doing the hiring at Brackley – Wolff, Ross Brawn or Niki Lauda? Intriguingly there have been rumours that the last named has been pursuing new recruits without Brawn’s knowledge…
The other curious element to the story is of course that if Lowe had made any form of commitment to Williams and had now been persuaded to move with Wolff, there would be repercussions. It doesn’t add up.
I’m willing to be proved wrong, but my own take on it is that understandably Paddy might be considering that, after 20 years at McLaren, the time is right for a new challenge. He may well have talked to Wolff or indeed others and got a feel for his market value, but has not yet made a commitment to go anywhere.
The fact that those discussions are now in the public domain and his current employer has been alerted to them might have come at an inconvenient time. Martin Whitmarsh and/or Ron Dennis have probably spent this morning either persuading him to stay or reminding him that he is not in a position to take a job elsewhere any time soon…