Press reports suggest McLaren's Paddy Lowe will join Mercedes in 2014
Guardian claim Technical Director has been placed on gardening leave
By William Esler. Last Updated: 25/02/13 2:05pm
Paddy Lowe: On his way to Mercedes?
McLaren Technical Diretor Paddy Lowe will not travel to the season-opening Australian GP with his move to Mercedes for 2014 'a done deal,' according to The Guardian.
The 50-year-old had been touted as a replacement for Silver Arrows Team Principal Ross Brawn, amidst a comprehensive management reshuffle in the Stuttgart manufacturer's F1 operation over the winter.
'Lowe will continue to be employed by McLaren through 2013, in accordance with his contract,' according to the paper's website.
'But he is not expected to be seen around the team and will take what is commonly referred to as "gardening leave." The last thing McLaren want is Lowe taking their secrets to Mercedes.'
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Brawn admitted last month that Mercedes had indeed made an approach to Lowe as they sought to bolster an already formidable engineering roster, but added that he hoped to remain in charge for a "very long time."
Lowe appears to be one of the most in demand technical brains in the paddock, having been linked with a return to Williams in 2012.
Mercedes declined to comment when contacted by Sky Sports F1.