In a turn of events that surprised many, McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh has announced the signing of former McLaren employee and current Infinity/Red Bull lead aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou. While many may see this as a gigantic signing that could have dramatic effects on the success of Team McLaren in 2014, Infinity/Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner says, not so fast.
With undertones that more ‘big name’ signings are to come for the struggling McLaren team, Red Bull’s press reps are reemphasizing the fact that Prodromou is still under contract with them. “Peter is a valued member of the team, and he is making a valuable contribution,’ said Horner. “The content of any contract obviously is confidential, but the duration of his contract runs for quite a while yet.
“We are certainly in no rush to release him early and he will be with the team until the end of his existing agreement,” Horner added. While Horner may have some issues with the way this transition for Prodromou may be going down, he must also remember that this is precisely how Horner acquired him from McLaren back in 2005, essentially stealing him from McLaren while still under contract.
Moves within F1 teams are common each year, with crew members and team management personnel making moves as frequently as drivers, just without so many headlines. While Red Bull downplays this inevitable loss of Prodromou, it may be more than just his loss that lingers.
Talking to people in the paddock on race days, it is common knowledge that Ferrari has been vying for the services of Red Bull’s Horner for some time, offering what has been reported as obscene amounts of money. Knowing that Horner could be on his way out at any time, Prodromou has been being groomed to take over for Horner as Team Principal at Infinity/Red Bull upon his departure. That no longer seems to be the case.
Look for this event to mark a couple of significant events in F1. Firstly, Horner will probably be at Red Bull for many years to come. Additionally, with the second advent of the Turbo V6 era upon us in 2014, this may very well signal the beginning of the end of Infinity/Red Bull dominance.
F1 Editor: USA