After his imminent return to McLaren was announced in October last year, it was anticipated that highly rated aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou’s transition back to his former employer from Red Bull would be decidedly more seamless than it has been. As Christian Horner and Ron Dennis locked horns earlier this season, the situation descended into a game of political chess and McLaren will hope that Prodromou’s services are worth the efforts made in orchestrating his return.
‘Your Move Ron’
While politics and sport are rarely an effective partnership, a touch of spice is always added when leading figures blow the dust off of the political handbook. When Peter Prodromou confirmed that he would part company with Red Bull in order to return to McLaren in 2015, it seemed that contractual issues would not surface and that the transition would be simple. However, nobody expected that the lesser known entity of Dan Fallows would have such an influence on proceedings.
Fallows became the stumbling block and McLaren and Red Bull engaged in a tug-of-war for Fallows’ services – Dennis was aggrieved that he has signed Fallows, only for Red Bull to sweep in and intercept the technical man who seemed destined for McLaren. In Ron’s eyes, this was a breech of contract, but Horner was merely looking for a replacement for the outgoing Prodromou – The best way of appointing one was to pinch an asset from the team looking to build a title-winning design squad.
Ultimately, the situation was resolved without escalating into a major controversy. With a compromise reached, Prodromou has been announced as a McLaren employee today and will begin adding to his 15 years of Woking experience. “It’s fantastic to return to McLaren, and to see a mixture of faces old and new. Of course, I have first-hand experience of just what a passionate, focused and capable race team exists within these walls, and I’ve already seen the enthusiasm and positivity that exists to return McLaren to world championship-winning glory,” Prodromou said in a McLaren statement.
While this is hardly a shock development, (we have been waiting for this official announcement for some time,) the move does signify the power shift that is happening at the moment. After four years, the key figures from the Red Bull Racing empire are beginning to disband, with Prodromou leaving and Adrian Newey stepping down from his spot at the top of the design pyramid. Unquestionably, Red Bull have the design team to cope with outgoing personnel, and are themselves strengthening with the signing of Gianpiero Lambaise from Force India for 2015. However, the team is beginning to look very different to that which dominated the sport and whether it is change for the better is yet unknown.