A notable absentee at the launch of McLaren’s 2013 car on Thursday was technical director Paddy Lowe.
Ross Brawn confirmed recently that Lowe, initially in talks with Williams, had discussed a possible future move to Mercedes. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters at Woking, where the wraps were taken off the evolutionary MP4-28, that 50-year-old Briton Lowe is staying put for 2013.
“The future is less certain,” he admitted.
As for why Lowe is sitting out the launch, Whitmarsh said the technical director made the decision himself, to save the team the “embarrassment” of facing up to the recent controversy on the eve of McLaren’s fiftieth anniversary.
Lowe “doesn’t want to be a distraction,” Whitmarsh said. “At his own election he felt it was inappropriate to be here.
“He’ll be part of the team for the rest of this year,” he added.
McLaren has followed Ferrari’s lead by switching to a novel ‘pull-rod’ layout for the MP4-28’s front suspension.
Racing it in 2013 will be Jenson Button and new arrival Sergio Perez.
“The MP4-28 isn’t merely a refinement of last year’s seven-race winning car,” McLaren said in a statement, “it’s a deep and sweeping redesign of an already successful chassis in several key areas.”