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Neale: 'Telephone number' pay offer won over Lowe

"There was a little bit of a rattled cage from Ross Brawn when the news came out that Paddy might be going to Mercedes," said Hill. "I think there is still some manoeuvring around that will be done in the technical department."

With Nikki Lauda getting very hands-on with the F1 team and former Williams executive director Toto Wolff replacing Norbert Haug as Mercedes' head of motorsport over the winter, team principal Brawn has been in danger of looking squeezed out of the team that he originally founded out of the old Honda team, and led to a world championship with driver Jenson Button in 2009.

"There has been a lot of change," agreed Hill. "Nikki Lauda has moved in, Norbert Haug has left.

"There has to be some sort of change of order at Mercedes to make the assets that they are taking on board work properly and produce a winning combination, which after all is what Mercedes are investing an awful lot of money in doing."

Lauda continues to insist that Brawn's position at Mercedes is safe and that there have been no discussions about his leaving the squad.

However, Lauda and the Mercedes team were also clearly caught out by the timing of McLaren's announcement of Lowe's reassignment which all-but blows open the 'secret' that Lowe is moving to Mercedes at the end of the current season. Mercedes' lack of confirmation that this is the case also means that it's yet to be revealed what he will be doing at Mercedes - and whose job he will be taking.

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whitew - Unregistered

February 27, 2013 1:02 PM

McLaren are obviously upset as they have stuck him on gardening leave for a year................. Sour grapes if you ask me. What are McLaren left with an average driver and a rookie. Button might have been a World Champion but more by luck than skill. As he showed last year, he more often than not finished mid pack or lower.

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