McLaren set to lose engineering director Pat Fry

McLaren's Pat Fry

McLaren's engineering director Pat Fry has reportedly been put on gardening leave ahead of his imminent departure.

It's understood that Fry, who returned to McLaren last year to oversee the development of their current car, the MCL34, put in a request to leave the team having initially agreed a short-term contract.

The British engineer stepped in to fill the vacancy left by Tim Goss, who departed in 2018 amid a technical reshuffle whilst McLaren awaited the arrival of James Key from Toro Rosso.

Fry began his motorsport career with Benetton in 1987 before joining McLaren in 1993. He then left to join Ferrari for 2011 where he held the role of technical director up until 2014. After a brief spell at Manor, he returned to McLaren.

It's not known if the 55-year-old has an offer from a rival team, or whether he has decided to return to semi-retirement. Williams however would be a prime candidate to poach Fry after recently parting ways with Paddy Lowe after a legal dispute was resolved last week.

McLaren has enjoyed a resurgence this season and currently leads the midfield battle behind the leading trio of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. With the team just ten points shy of its 2018 points tally after just nine races – it enjoyed its best result of the season in Austria last weekend.