McLaren have confirmed that they have succeeded in luring Red Bull Racing’s head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou back to the Woking team.
Prodromou followed Adrian Newey from McLaren to the current champions in 2006 and has since been an integral member of the design team that has produced the cars that have won the last three drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
The former McLaren man’s contract with current employer Red Bull is believed to run until the end of the 2014 season, meaning that the Woking-based squad may have to wait until 2015, when their technical partnership with Honda commences, before they can welcome Prodromou back to the team.
“We do have to remember that the contract Peter has at the moment is a Red Bull contract and I have to respect that,” said McLaren’s Managing Director Jonathan Neale. “It’s for them to talk about what his terms are and what his leave dates are,”
“But in terms of our position then, yes, we have recruited Peter. We’re really excited about him joining the team.
“It is not a one-off thing we are doing, as we have made some moves during the course of this year. There are some other things we are doing to strengthen our team.
“It is a series of moves as we head towards 2015 with Honda to make sure this team stays at the forefront of F1 and is set for winning ways.”
The confirmation of the Prodromou deal comes just a week after McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh promised a series of major high profile technical signings in Korea, as the team looks to bounce back from a disastrous 2013 campaign, which looks set to be the teams first without a podium since the 1980 season.
Jenson Button, who will line-up 10th on the grid for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, just ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez, has echoed the comments of Neale, stating his excitement at the prospect of moving forward in 2014 as the team adds to its design staff.
“It’s great. Looking at this season, it’s not been a great year for us. It’s been a pretty tough year for us all. You do have to remember, though, that’s we’ve brought very good cars over the last few years. We’ve got many victories and been very close to winning World Championships,” said Button.
“The people that are already working within this team, and have been for many years, are still doing a mega job. I think it’s nice that we’re adding to their skills and experience of working up and down the pitlane.
“It’s going to help us a lot in the future, definitely.”
Sebastian Vettel, who stands on the brink of claiming his fourth championship title this weekend in Japan, once again in a car with the design impetus of Prodromou, has championed the London-born aerodynamicist’s effect behind the scenes at Red Bull Racing, since his arrival in 2006.
“He’s obviously been a very, very strong character in the background responsible for a lot of good stuff that has happened to us over the last couple of years.
“For sure I hope he stays with us but I don’t know. I only just heard when I got out of the car.”