Rival F1 team bid for Lowe adds pressure to Mercedes talks

Talks between Paddy Lowe and Mercedes regarding his future at the Brackley-based outfit appear to be entering a crunch phase, amid suggestions that he could be poised to accept an offer to join a rival team.

Rival F1 team bid for Lowe adds pressure to Mercedes talks
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director (Technical)
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director, Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director (Technical) (Right)
Toto Wolf, Mercedes GP and Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director (Technical) in the FIA Press Conference
James Allison, Ferrari Chassis Technical Director with Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director

Lowe’s future at Mercedes has been the subject of speculation for months after it emerged that discussions to frame an extension of his contract at the outfit had been delayed until the end of this year.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff and Lowe did not want the talk to distract from their efforts to secure a third consecutive Formula 1 championship double.

Lowe himself said at last weekend’s Autosport Awards that there was no ulterior motive to the delay in the discussions, and that he saw "no reason" for him to change.

"I’ve been with Mercedes for 22 years now, either working for them or with them, so I have got no reason to see why that should change. It is going very well,” he said.

"Toto and I had a discussion that, let’s wait until the end of the season and get that out of the way, and we will take it from there.”

But amid suggestions that the key disagreement between Lowe and his bosses relates to his salary, sources have revealed that – with another outfit willing to outbid Mercedes – the 53-year-old could be poised to make a switch.

Williams return?

It is unclear which team is the main contender to lure him away, but it is understood not to be Ferrari – which has been most strongly liked with the Briton. A switch to another British team is much more likely.

McLaren has completely ruled out any interest, with a team spokesman saying: "We have absolutely no plans to rehire Paddy, since we are entirely satisfied with our current senior engineering management team."

While Renault is restructuring, the most logical destination for Lowe would be a return to Williams, where he started his F1 career. The outfit could even offer him equity as part of any agreement in an attempt to secure his services.

It is thought that a final decision on his plans has not yet been made, but should no agreement be reached between Lowe and Mercedes imminently, then it could force the German car manufacturer to move quickly for a replacement.

The most likely candidate is former Ferrari technical director James Allison, who has been linked with Mercedes for some time and may even already have an option with the outfit to be on call when his gardening leave runs out early next year.

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