McLaren is reportedly "working hard" to prevent Paddy Lowe from switching to Mercedes.
Citing sources, Spain's El Confidencial said team boss Martin Whitmarsh and supremo Ron Dennis are trying to convince McLaren's technical director to resist the temptation to join Lewis Hamilton in a leading role at Mercedes.
Germany's motorsport-magazin.com reported that Lowe may have been offered a pay rise by McLaren if he agrees to stay.
At any rate, the Woking based team has clearly not given up on the 50-year-old, having issued to journalists a press kit for its 2013 car launch scheduling Lowe to speak on January 31.
There is definitely some truth to the rumours, however, given Mercedes' refusal to officially comment since the story broke a few days ago.
When asked about it, the German marque's Niki Lauda told Bild: "In formula one, you have basically never completed the task of putting together your team."
No matter what happens, McLaren will almost certainly have a highly competitive car for the new season.
Jenson Button, not the team newcomer and vastly less experienced Sergio Perez, will be the first at the wheel of the MP4-28 at Jerez on February 5 and 6.
Sam Michael, sporting director, said McLaren has been working hard since the end of the season last November.
"The car that won in Brazil would certainly not win in Australia," he is quoted by Spain's El Mundo Deportivo.