Mercedes and McLaren agree early release for Lowe

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Former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe will make an early start for his new team Mercedes after a deal was struck between the two teams.

Lowe will begin work for Mercedes on June 3rd after McLaren agreed to allow Lowe to join them before his contract expired at the end of the year.

McLaren are Mercedes engine customers but recently announced a deal to switch to Honda power from 2015.

“I am excited to become part of a highly talented and capable technical organisation,” said Lowe. “I have worked closely with Mercedes-Benz for almost 20 years and deeply admire the company’s phenomenal commitment to Formula One.”

“I look forward to much success together in the years ahead.”

Lowe will take on the role of executive director (technical) at a team which already has an enviable roster of technical talent. They include engineering director Bob Bell (ex-Renault), technology director Geoff Willis (ex-Honda) and engineering director Aldo Costa (ex-Ferrari).

Team principal Ross Brawn said his new hire “would be an asset to any of our rivals in the pit lane”.

Brawn added Lowe will be concentrating on the development of the W05 and future cars that will be built to the new engine regulations from next year.

“To deliver in these circumstances, a successful team needs strength in depth. Paddy’s arrival will further strengthen our organisation and puts us in a strong position for the future,” said Brawn.

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”