McLaren may have been putting on a brave face on Paddy Lowe's defection to Mercedes on Monday, but there is no hiding from the fact that his departure is a blow.
That is not just a perception from those outside the corridors of the company's Woking HQ, either, because it was Jenson Button who prophetically suggested late last year that a Lowe exit would be a much bigger loss for the team than losing Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking about how upset he was that Hamilton had elected to jump ship, Button said: "I'm not disappointed, because there's always change. I'd be disappointed if Paddy Lowe moved from the team because that's the guy who's going to help me achieve in the future. Whereas with Lewis, drivers come and go and people change, and that's pretty normal in the sport."
Button's comments are no surprise, really. When McLaren elected last year to name Lowe as its first technical director in the post Adrian Newey era, it was based on the instrumental role he had played in driving the squad forward. Here was the man who as head of McLaren's R&D helped push on power steering, brake steer and a ramp-up of the team's simulator facilities.
As engineering director since 2005 and, for the past 12 months as technical director, he helped create cars that were good enough for numerous victories – even though titles remained elusive.
Lowe's future will now be focused on delivering those trophies for Mercedes instead, and most likely longer term as Ross Brawn's eventual successor when the current team boss elects to call time on his F1 career.
At McLaren, Tim Goss (RIGHT) is a more than worthy successor to Lowe. And although he may not have the high profile of other senior technical figures in the sport, his contribution to McLaren's recent successes should not be downplayed. Yet Goss and his engineering crew will know that they are without one on their biggest assets when they head into play in Melbourne, at a time when the team has already lost a star player from its driver lineup.
Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus must all be rubbing their hands at the prospect of their toughest rival experiencing a lack of continuity on both the driving and technical front. Lowe's benefits to Mercedes will not be felt for nearly a year yet, but the impact of his decision to leave is going to be felt much sooner than that.