Mercedes has offered Paddy Lowe a million euros per year to switch from McLaren, the major German newspaper Bild claims.
None other than Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn on Thursday confirmed that talks with McLaren’s technical director have taken place, although Brawn strongly denied that he is being lined up to oust him.
Bild claims Mercedes’ offer would “double” 50-year-old Briton Lowe’s current salary.
Having also switched from McLaren to Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton however denied any knowledge of the deal.
“I’ve been assured by Ross his commitment is for the long term and he is here to try to win with me,” the 2008 world champion told reporters at Brackley on Thursday.
Brawn added: “I’ve talked to Paddy. He is not coming. If I chose to leave the team Paddy will come. We have a fall-back plan. It is as simple as that.”
He attempted to fend off speculation that Nick Fry, team chief executive, is the first definite victim of the power struggle.
“Nick is still very much involved,” Brawn insisted. “All the changes will have an impact but he’ll certainly be here for a while.”
Hamilton – never far from controversy throughout his six year F1 career – argued it’s a good thing that Mercedes is exploring its options, having pledged to become a truly front-running team after three seasons of finishing clearly behind F1′s ‘big three’.
“I think it’s important that they are always analysing and seeing what can be improved and what adjustments need to be made because they want to win,” he added.
Finally, after Adam Parr’s departure at Williams was linked to Bernie Ecclestone, it is rumoured the F1 chief executive may be striking again, this time at Mercedes, to give Toto Wolff’s career another boost.
Brawn admitted he has “not always seen eye to eye” with Ecclestone, but told the Telegraph: “I would be very surprised.
“The thing Bernie wants is a strong Mercedes. Hopefully he recognises I am an asset to the team.”