Paddy Lowe moves to Mercedes – Tim Goss appointed McLaren Technical Director
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Feb 2013   |  4:43 pm GMT  |  252 comments

It has been confirmed today that McLaren is to lose its Technical Director Paddy Lowe to Mercedes and the company has appointed Tim Goss to replace Lowe in the role.

Lowe had been planning a move to join Toto Wolff at Williams before the Austrian was offered the chance to head Mercedes motorsport operation. The plan then evolved for Lowe to divert to Mercedes and this was openly discussed a month ago, with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn asserting that he remained in charge at Brackley, while new recruit Lewis Hamilton insisted that Lowe would not be moving to Brackley.

Tim Goss


Today however came the confirmation that McLaren has appointed Goss as Technical Director. Goss is an experienced engineer, who worked alongside now Ferrari technical director Pat Fry as senior designer of recent McLarens until Fry’s departure to Maranello. He designed the 2008 McLaren in which Hamilton won the world championship, as well as the 2010 car, which won five races and the 2012 car which won 7 races.

“I’d like to offer my congratulations to Tim on his new position, which, after more than 20 years of exceptional service for McLaren, he richly deserves,” said McLaren team principal Matin Whitmarsh.

“His quiet and unassuming persona conceals a fierce competitiveness and a wealth of experience, coupled to an unrivalled level of expertise in the field of Formula 1 car design and engineering.”

Whitmarsh’s reference to Goss’ “20 years service” is a pointed reference to loyalty. McLaren chairman Ron Dennis recently stated that he did not want anyone in the team who did not “bleed McLaren”.

But behind the rhetoric, the loss of Lowe, so soon after the loss of Hamilton to Mercedes, is a blow to McLaren’s prestige and underlines how high the stakes are nowadays among teams’ technical staff as they all strive to keep pace with Adrian Newey and the Red Bull juggernaut. The Milton Keynes outfit has won the last three world championships for constructors and drivers and informed paddock analysis puts the 2013 Red Bull car as the one to beat after the first two tests.

Lowe will be made to play out the remaining year of his contract at McLaren before he is released and it’s likely that he will be given a role well away from any proprietary information pertaining to the new generation 2014 chassis and engines.

This will be a setback to him and his new team in terms of his knowledge of the evolotion over the next 10 months of the new technologies, but he is a very smart operator and will have already gained plenty of knowledge on the subject to this point.

The question now is where this leaves Ross Brawn. He insisted last month that he is in charge at Mercedes, that he was aware of plans to recruit Lowe and that he will decide whether to continue as Team Principal. There are clearly fault-lines with Niki Lauda as non-executive chairman, but Toto Wolff appears to be playing a conciliatory role, so far. Brawn has always been one for succession planning and Lowe may well be the natural successor. The question is, how long before he takes over the reins?

Given that he will not even set foot inside Brackley until January 1, unless a deal can be struck with McLaren for an early release, he would need at least a season to get a handle on the team before taking over from Brawn. So for stability’s sake, a 2014/15 handover would appear more likely.

Interestingly, to show how fluid things have been at Mercedes, Hamilton insisted when he met with a few of us in Brackley at the end of January, that Lowe was not joining Mercedes,

“As far as I’m aware there are no plans to bring Paddy here,” Hamilton said. “I’ve been assured by Ross that his commitment is for the long term and he is here to try to win with me, which reassures me and continues to give me a positive feeling moving forward.

“There are lots of good people here and I’ve obviously had great experiences with Paddy but he works with McLaren as far as I’m concerned.”

* FOTA has announced that the first Fans Forum of 2013 will take place on Wednesday night at Barcelona circuit. The panel will comprise:

Xevi Pujolar, Williams, Race Engineer
Giedo Van Der Garde, Caterham Driver
Graeme Lowdon, Marussia President/Sporting Director
James Allison, Lotus Technical Director
Jaime Alguersuari, Pirelli F1 test driver

You can follow it live streamed here on JA on F1, starting at 18-30 CET (17-30GMT)

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1

It’s a pity that McLaren could not lure James Allison from Lotus. Would it be safe to assume that an approach was made, discussions ensued in the last 2-3 weeks since news broke about Lowe’s probable defection? Maybe,Gerard Lopez and Eric Boullier convinced Allison to stay put at Lotus.

On a different note, why didn’t McLaren approach Pat Symonds? Or is that a no go since he is a consultant at Marussia and McLaren have a technical partnership with them?

Lotus appear to be on a tight budget and with the Honeywell sponsorship still not visible, it remains to be seen how well they can develop this year’s car while working on the 2014 challenger.

James, there have been comments from Jonathan Neale in the last couple of days about Lowe being offered ‘telephone number’ compensation at Mercedes. Since there were similar rumblings about Hamilton’s departure to Mercedes, are McLaren now operating at a significantly reduced budget? Is the lack of manufacturer support hurting McLaren?

2

I would have thought Pat Symonds would be a better fit at RBR 🙂

Perhaps there are concerns whether MW would be as compliant as Piquet jnr.

3

They have high overheads.

Actually they said that they made a competitive financial offer to Hamilton. This statement about Paddy is different

4

James, I was referring to Ron Dennis’ statement sometime last year about Hamilton having to take a pay cut in light of the changed economic scenario since signing his last contract. Eventually, McLaren had to revise their financial offer to Hamilton upwards. This got me thinking that maybe, there are worries about a ballooning budget and no manufacturer backing them.

IIRC, they have to pay for the Mercedes engines as well from this year. That’s a hit of $20 million or thereabouts??

5

I expect a few other teams to make similar moves over the next few weeks and months…

I also have a similar expectation, in addition I expect the date for Christmas to remain unchanged from the 25th December 🙂

6

Good lord, stop with the wild guessing.

7

Paddy isn’t stupid he knows what’s about to come even though the doomsayers wish different.

Remember what he said about Lewis in 09.

“He’s tremendously good at controlling a car in oversteer. We saw that from the first moment he got in our car. We saw the data, and on every entry we could see there was a massive correction on the steering, and our normal drivers would have been bitching like hell that the car was undriveable, yet he didn’t even pass comment. So with a driver like that, you’re better equipped to push the boundaries to new levels. Speaking generically of that characteristic, a lot of the performance limit of a car is set by stability; if you can’t hang on to it, you will have to introduce understeer in that zone. But if you have a driver better able to deal with oversteer in those zones that induce it, then you will have a less-understeery car elsewhere and therefore more total grip over the lap. The great drivers over the years – Senna, Schumacher, Mansell – have all had that ability. Like for like compared to other drivers, they want more front end.”

8

Top move by Mr Wolf and Mr Lauda. Not only have the put in place a succession plan for life post Brawn, they have destabilised their biggest rival ahead of a huge regulation change. Credit to them.

Mclaren represent the biggest threat to the existence of the Meredes F1 team, if Mercedes were a regular top 3 team alongside Ferrari and Red Bull, shareholders I am sure would be happy. As long as they are beaten by a customer team there will always be questions surrounding the on-going investment.

This is the kind of forward thinking management logic I expected to see from Lauda, whilst it seems the origins of the plan to hire Lowe come from Totto, I’m sure Lauda pushed through the move.

I expect a few other teams to make similar moves over the next few weeks and months with the objective of stalling competitor teams 2014 plans.

9

Who knows maybe, Mercedes will try and emulate a Mclaren design philosophy, as they were works team before they split up. Mercedes, know that success in they way they have carried from Brawn/ Honda days is a struggle. Rosss co Geoff Willis on one car and Lowe on the 2015 car etc…..

James, what solid information do you have on Paddy Lowe going to Mercedes as it seems like a speculation, I just got in my mind that he may go to Williams…or even Ferrari.

10

Do you people not read articles the first line tells you it’s confirmed

11

I have read it, but until now Lauda has played down this maybe to keep everything under wraps. Initially contact was made for Lowe to go back to Williams, but Totto Wolf has gone to Mercedes. This Mercedes thing is getting intriguing, until Mercedes makes an official announcement, which will be near the end of Gardening Leave……….ref:

please copy the link:

http://www1.skysports.com/formula-1/news/12472/8524649/Niki-Lauda-says-he-cannot-confirm-reports-linking-Paddy-Lowe-with-Mercedes

Gardening leave ref:

http://www1.skysports.com/formula-1/news/12479/8524468/Damon-Hill-says-losing-Paddy-Lowe-to-Mercedes-will-be-gutting-for-McLaren

Thanks

12

Mclaren are weaken now, as Paddy has an approach to make technical innovations to work. For example: the F duct in 2010, which then enabled DRS to come in, R&D and helped push on power steering, brake steer and a ramp-up of the team’s simulator facilities etc. This could affect Mclaren in the future, Mclaren would re-structure their design philosphy.

Would Ross Brawn leave as this is not confirmed yet, and I believe this year is an acid test for the team to save Ross from leaving. Who knows Ross Brawn may go to Mclaren, this is my pure speculation. But I firmly believe Ross will remain with Lowe assisting and once Ross says goodbye to F1, then Lowe will take the roll full on.

13

Its quite strange, Mercedes have not admitted that Lowe is coming, but do feel he is a good commodity. If we look at Paddy Lowe’s history, he was one of the boffin’s to come up with the reliable active suspension set up at Williams, whilst Damon Hill was testing it out during 1991/1992 seasons. I have a strange feeling that Paddy may go back to Williams. As Williams want to go back to winning ways.

I am also feeling that Mclaren, will suffer in terms of developments and their way of creating F1 cars as one team his headed by Lowe or Goss and vice versa a tag team per year. This is how Mclaren’s design philosophy has been.

Look at this Years MP4- 28 compared to MP4-27, Mclaren admit they are struggling to understand this years racer due to new concepts. They should have followed the evolution format, and then dived the team to develop for 2014.

14

F1 cars as one team His, should be with is headed by……………

15

–Could Lowe be allowed to consult, anyhow, Mercedes in 2013?

–Could Ross Brawn join McLaren next year? McLaren & Brawn: very interesting!

16

To me losing Ross brawn is as big a low to merc as getting Lewis was good. I don’t think they realise that he should be the most important man there. Don’t see them winning anything without Ross. And it’s not like Ross is an old man yet. Got lots left in the tank. Ferrari would take him back in the morning.

17

Lies, lies, lies. I would’nt believe a word Mercedes say from now on. It was obvious Lowe was moving there when the rumours started.

I think its a safe bet that with Ross Brawn “insisting” that he’s staying for “the long haul”, will stay for about 3 more weeks as principal and then hand over. That seems to be the way Mercedes are doing things at the moment. I bet Lauda ends up running the show with Wolfe as apprentice.

18

They say there’s always two Siths.

The emperor and his apprentice..

19

Could it be that Ross Brawn, in hiring Michael Schumacher, has actually inadvertantly sealed his own fate. In following his dream Brawn has wasted three years. Three years is a long time in business, in high profile sport three years is a very long time.

Perceptions are difficult to shrug off. If the Merc board feel that Brawn represents a thawn in their investment then he has to go.

Will Brawn’s once shining light be snuffed out like Schumacher before him? I fear this was the writing on the wall.

20

Schumacher wasn’t the problem; the car was. They could have put anyone else in the car and gotten the same result, if not worse.

21

It´s true to some extend.Rosberg beat Schumacher. So there was anyone else in the same car. Schumacher won the pole in Monaco but he couldn´t enjoy it much because of a penalty. In 3 years all Schumacher could win was a podium in Valencia. The car was part of the problem but not all.

22

He also had a lot of mechanical failures.

23

What a waste of talent. Lowe is out for an entire season.

24

Big blow for McLaren…

25

i just cant keep up…the news on bbc website this morning “Ross Brawn expected to leave Mercedes after Paddy Lowe joins”….

26

It’s just a guess, nothing more from Benson

27

It is startling the amount of uncertainty they’ve had with the TD position: first there was the spygate affair with Mike, then Fry went to Ferrari and now Lowe to Mercedes.

It is a blow to Ross Brawn but I hope Luca offers him a way back to Ferrari. You often see a desire to change things up after a team/group has a very successful run. However people do realize they can’t top what they once had. Brawn back at ferrFerrari would be amazing but he will only be back as principal. As a Ferrari fan I hope Stefano doesn’t mess this season up though.

28

Luca won´t offer Brawn anything. If Brawn is interested in his old team then he has to call Luca and ask for the team principal or technical director position.

29

Just out of interest, would Lewis have a “key personnel” clause in his contract with Mercedes? I’m pretty sure Vettel has this in his RB contract on case Newey leaves.

Would Lewis have the right to leave if Brawn left or was pushed out?

30

With the amount they’re paying him he could probably just buy his way out if he had a mind to. Just call it a refund 😉

31

Mclaren clearly need to break ties with Mercedes. I am amazed this ball never got rolling as soon as Dennis decided to start producing cars and of course Mercedes decided to run there own F1 team.

They should have then and defo now should switch back to Honda or even now seeing there no longer a racing team Renault.

Further more why have they not snapped up Cosworth at 1st possible chance? what a trick that would be especially since Mclaren there now in car production, obviously the Cosworth Mclaren engine would need to be phased in or would it? it’s a yr away!

32

Cosworth!?……Now thats just crazy talk.

33

Elaborate why? there struggling and for sale and it would more so immediately enhance there car tech on top of the revenue from a huge market overall currently to a large percentage of other production manufactures giving good insight to what others are up to…

Even links to rallying and other motorsport forms cunning cost effective move i would say!

34

Was going going to say there second only to Ferrari as far as power units go in all time F1 race victories lol what a gibbering fool and like i said it would be as much if not more beneficial to the rd car side of operations.

35

History….cosworth have never produced a great engine or a reliable one. Over the years the teams they have been associated with became back markers, Williams being the highest profile team.

They don’t have the technical depth to warrent purchase. For Mclaren to go from Mercedes engines to a Cosworth would make no sense.

even less sense when you consider Mclaren are a racing team with no manufacture backing. Itd cost them in commercial revenue and would most likely be the begining of the end for them and the brand once they stopped winning.

36

Maybe recent years but they won 100s of GPs and WDCs in 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s!!

37

This is of course no surprise given Lowes absence at the MP-4/28 launch and all the subsequent Dennis talk about bleeding Mclaren. What this tells me in no uncertain terms is that Mclaren are not prepared to pay for top line people in their team. The debarcle over the Hamilton negotiations highlighted it for me & now Lowe stands to earn twice the money at Mercedes in a higher role with a whole new set of challenges. The first thing Mclaren need to do is learn how to reward performers, the next thing is to let non performers go- that applies across the board!.I don’t know what Mclaren stand to gain by keeping Lowe – even on gardening leave. He is more risk at the team than at Mercedes . They should let him go immediately as the teams are all still relatively early in the 2014 developments also ,so the effect in either team is relatively neutral. I reckon they will come to an agreement of sorts before July anyway.

As for Mercedes I had always believed Ross Brawn would retire at the end of this year once he got all “his ducks in a row “. I don’t think all the top technical people will stay there once the 2014 platforms have been tried & proven. Once that happens they won’t need Nikki Lauda any more either.

I really hope that James Allison does not go over to Mclaren as I really like what he is doing at Lotus- though I see this as a very strong possibility and as I said earlier if you are paid twice the money and offered consistent winning potential why wouldn’t you?

38

But, why is all this taking place now, just three weeks to Australia?

39

What the ….difference does it make.????? 3 days, 3 weeks. 3 min, 35 days after- what’s the big deal. you get offered a great job – you take it. Most people saw it coming. The MP4-28 project is well under way.Mclaren are a big team with many people able to take over. Not least Tim Goss

Toto Wolffe only landed in Mercedes early last month so it’s not like it could have happened much sooner – and when’s a better time -during a race season that runs till Xmas anyway?? Mclaren would extend the gardening leave if he had detailed knowledge of the 2014 car. It’s actually the best time for him to leave now for all parties!

40

James – Lauda has always been close to Bernard, particularly since he finished racing. Is there any insight as to whether his appointment at Mercedes has been masterminded by Bernard, perhaps due to displeasure with the pre-2013 era management? Perhaps due to problems negotiating the Concorde agreement? After all, if you believe Adam Parr, this is why he was forced out of Williams.

41

@Adrian Newey Jnr, it’s like the lights have all just switched on in my head. Your post makes real sense. I have a habit of forgetting how instumental the “puppet master” really is in every aspect. I like your thinking on this one

42

I can’t wait for the proper biography of the man, the posthumous one where the truth can finally come out!

43

Will be a real eye opener I think. Don’t think we will have to wait too long for that now lol

44

I think you might well be ‘warm’ as they say..

45

I could say that the cat’s out of the bag, but the truth is that that little furball escaped a while back.

Mercedes plan is simple. Obviously they can’t beat the other teams at their own game, so they’ve started using guerilla tactics – they figure that if they take all their enemies personnel it will make their enemies weaker while making themselves stronger.

At this rate by 2015 Mercedes will have three team principals, eight technical directors, nineteen chief engineers, seven drivers, twenty five executive directors, seventeen non-executive directors and zero constructor trophies.

Go Mercedes!

46

God, it would be like DTM!!!

47

Let´s say you are. Why didn´t Mercedes go after RB personel? The best team in the last 3 years has been RB. Why not going after Newey and Vettel? Why Mercedes is using guerilla tactics against McLaren and not RB?

48

First: One team at a time.

Second: Red Bull can probably pay Newey and Vettel just as much as Mercedes would.

Third: Right now both Newey and Vettel are happy where they are.

Fourth: I wasn’t being entirely serious 🙂

If I’m to be serious, then right now it seems that Mercedes is throwing their cheque book at whoever might be tempted to leave their current team – the latest that I’ve heard of is James Allison, but I’m a little dubious about that. What they are doing struck me as guerilla tactics – which is why I wrote what I did – but the truth is that this is just classic manufacturer tactics which never seem to work.

When the Mercedes team finally implodes all the talent they’ve recruited over the last year or so will most likely end up back at the same old teams (McLaren, Ferrari, Williams, etc…), but probably not the same teams they left.

49

Agreed it’s not normal to have so many ranking positions. Maybe they know what’s going on, but from the outside it looks like a mess, which is why I think the team will implode sooner or later.

I also agree that Brawn is their best bet for the moment. They could certainly do a damn sight worse 🙂

Rumours put Paddy in line for the job, but to the best of my knowledge he’s a technical director. That’s a different thing to being a team principal and I don’t see it working, but who knows? I might be wrong.

50

James Allison was linked to McLaren as Paddy Lowe replacement. But for now is not going to happen.

Mercedes is offering more money and high rank positions. It´s fair game. But it doesn´t sound normal to have many people in high rank positions. It´s hard to organize their respective responssibilities and duties. Besides the reasons behind the changes are not very clear. In what way Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff look to be a better choice than Brawn?

51

can’t be more right…what does a non-executive chairman do anyway?

52

I really, really, really hope that Mr.Brawn…

1. Leaves Mercedes late in 2013

2. Does a deal and buys Toro Rosso

3. Re-names it as Brawn Ferrari F1

4. Beats Mercedes in 2014

Just hoping.

53

Can’t see it happening, but it’s a nice thought 🙂

54

i would very much like to see that

55

Im willing to bet that Lewis knew about this, and thats part of the reason he signed with Merc. The people saying that Lewis was running away from Maca are wrong IMO. To me, the reason Lewis left was Whitmarsh and Michaels, they couldnt organize the team to support the drivers. With Lowe at Merc, Lewis has someone that knows how he likes the car to behave, and can desing the car to his liking, like last years Maca. Somebody finaly built a better car than Newey and the rest of the team ruined Lewis’s chance to win the championship. My thinking is that there were 2 camps at Maca, a pro Whitmarsh and an anti Whitmarsh. Guess which side Lowe was on.

56

I doubt Lewis knew anything about what is going on. If he did the members of the F1 press corps have a right to be mightily annoyed.

Worse, I don’t reckon Lewis has any clue about what will happen next week, next month or next summer. He is just a passenger who’s expected to drive when told to drive and shut up when told to shut up.

But at least he is a well paid passenger.

57

He was certainly a well paid passenger last year, when he was left helpless as his car ground to a halt while he was leading/ran out of fuel after blitzing pole position/was left stationary while the team screwed up his pit stops.

(Please delete as appropriate).

58

I think you have made your feelings clear with regard to Hamilton and McLaren.

59

I diasgree. I think Lewis made a desicion based on all these developments. He knew Lowe was coming, and he knew Wolf was coming too. People like to paint Lewis as stupid, but that guy is as smart as any other driver in F1. He was presented with an offer, with facts, and he made a disioion.

61

Sounds like they were keeping Hamilton in the dark.

Perhaps they were worried about putting him in the middle of the storm, perhaps they were worried about it being made public or perhaps Hamilton was more instrumental and was just playing coy

62

I’ve been a McLaren fan for ages but all the talk of loyalty is started to get a little bit sickening. McLaren have had no problems in the past poaching the very best staff from their competitors (Newey) or letting drivers go if a better offer comes along (Coulthard, Kovalainen) – it’s the nature of the business.

63

Does hamilton really want lowe there? Neverimind, If stefano fails again and Ross is available then I see Ross dressed in red, or in Maca through stocks and shares. Ron and Ross.

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