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SBD Global/February 26, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
McLaren Technical Dir Paddy Lowe "will not travel" to Melbourne with the team for the opening F1 race of the season on March 17 and "will join Mercedes at the end of the year," according Paul Weaver of the London GUARDIAN. Last month, Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn "categorically denied Lowe would be joining as long as he remained in charge." But Lowe's move to Mercedes is a done deal with McLaren announcing that "he will be replaced with Tim Goss." Lowe "will join the team in time to oversee the massive changes for 2014, when the engines will downsize from V8s to V6 1.6 litre turbo charged units." Lowe's arrival "will not necessarily lead to Brawn's departure." It now seems that tensions between Brawn and the team's new non-executive chairman, the "occasionally fractious" Niki Lauda, "have eased under the calming influence of Toto Wolff, who joined Mercedes as the director of motorsport from Williams at the start of the year" (GUARDIAN, 2/25). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported the Lowe "is to run the team" along with Wolff from '14, but he "will be employed by McLaren until then on 'gardening leave.'" Lowe "will fulfil a role senior to technical director, running the sporting and technical aspects of the team, while Wolff fulfils other senior responsibilities, such as political and commercial." Lowe's arrival at Mercedes, which has been put in place by Wolff and Lauda, "also raises questions about the senior engineering team at Mercedes." Including Brawn, Mercedes has "four men who have been previously technical directors at other teams" -- Technical Dir Bob Bell, Technology Dir Geoff Willis and Engineering Dir Aldo Costa. It is understood that Wolff and Lauda "are analysing the current structure and will make changes if they perceive there to be any weak links" (BBC, 2/25).